Posts Tagged ‘Lebron James’

There and Back Again

Friday, July 11th, 2014
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“I want kids in Northeast Ohio to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile.” -LeBron James

–I’ve noticed little things. He seemed more comfortable in his own skin. More resolute about his game. He respected his foes and disposed of them without fanfare. When he lost to the Spurs I was taken aback at how calm he was. He seemed genuinely happy for Tim Duncan. He made no excuses – the Spurs were superior. He praised their approach, which, really, would be his approach, if that were possible. That moment changed my rational characterization of LeBron James. And what a contrast. (My mind flashes to the Dirk coughing episode)–

I’m not sure how much LeBron changed between 2010 and today. But I do know that drastic and permanent change is possible in such a short timeframe. A man’s 20s is the most dynamic period of his life. The enormous transition from institutionalized childhood to the distorted lifestyles of higher education to family-building and career growth can occur in just four years. A 26-year-old can look back at his 22-year-old self and wonder how someone so dumb survived. And a 30-year-old can look back at his 26-year-old self and wonder how someone could believe he was so smart.

 

I am married with two children, was born in 1984, grew up on 80s cartoons, love video games, went to a Catholic High School in suburban NE Ohio, and I love basketball. Other than that, I don’t share much in common with LeBron James, I guess. There was only one constant during my tumultuous 20s – LeBron James in Cavalier garb. In 2003, when the Cavs won the lottery, I screamed up and down my dorm hallway like a madman (my freshman year).   LeBron and the Cavs set out on a journey. He was always there, growing, amidst a reshuffling of teammates, coaches, GMs, even owners. I was growing too, while I shuffled between rental housing, girlfriends, and internships. I was in school for 8 years. The week I was to defend my thesis was the same week the Cavs were eliminated in the 2010 playoffs. I was under so much stress that my body stopped digesting food. In less than a month I defended my thesis, started my career, and got married. During that same month, LeBron left Northeast Ohio and it was devastating.

 

I took me 4 years to emotionally purge The Decision from my psyche. The restlessness required to pen the following words:

“And LeBron’s “decision” would be the ultimate endorsement or indictment of our beloved home.”

had finally washed away. I was forced to realize that my family, my community, my faith, and the things I’d been building and growing were real, within my grasp, and requiring my dedication. Amazingly (I know), I transcended to a higher state of being – no longer requiring a stranger to affirm my city, my state, my team.  To the outsiders, I  “got over it.”

 

And now, much like that explosive month back in 2010, everything has changed again. I’ve come full circle. The cynic in me, never more insufferable than the last few nights, is being purged. LeBron James reminded me why I cared so much in the first place. He reminded me not to be ashamed of having a passion for, and drawing happiness from, a game.

 

This season has followed the most unpredictable sequences of events that I have ever witnessed. Since being dubbed the #seasonOfHuh by Ben Cox for now insignificant things like “struggling to inbound the ball”, it has raged out of control in a fiery inferno. The NBA landscape seems unrecognizable.   The Cavs winning the lottery with those miniscule odds seemed so utterly ridiculous at the end of that season. And now, LeBron James is returning to Northeast Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. (!)

 

And yet! They pale in comparison to the most remarkable thing of all. Despite all these events, despite all our incredulity, despite all the odds, despite LeBron coming home – something just happened that none of us, not even the most wildly imaginative, could have believed:

 

In less than 1000 words, LeBron James made everything right.

 

 

 

LeBron James is a Cavalier Again.

Friday, July 11th, 2014

LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s official. LeBron gave an exclusive to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, in which LeBron said,

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now…

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy…

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.

It’s what we’ve always wanted to LeBron to say, and how we’ve always wanted him to act. The next era of the Cleveland Cavaliers starts today. I’m happy for everyone who persevered with this team for so long. Enjoy yourselves, Cavs fans. Next season should be quite a ride.

Links to the Present: The LeBron Choice Edition

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

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Everything the past few days to do with the Cavs has been related to LeBron in some way.  Trading away Sergey Karasev, a first round pick, Tyler Zeller, and Jarrett Jack was done to open $21 million to sign LeBron to a max salary, if he wants to come to the team.  And, the trade is being graded exactly on whether or not LeBron returns by local fans and even national pundits.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN has given the trade a “C” for Cleveland.  However, Pelton acknowledges that even though the trade leaves the roster depleted and out of a future first round pick the trade is perfect if LeBron comes to the team.

If the Cavaliers know that’s going to happen, this trade gets an A-plus. If the league’s best player is coming, you do whatever is necessary to make it happen.

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The Point Four-ward: Summertime Rolls Edition

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Last week, I wrote about the Cavs moves in free agency and failed to mention LeBron James. However hard to believe, it’s true. At the time, all of five days ago, I was still trusting what people who cover the league closely had been telling me since the Heat came crashing down in the Finals: sometimes where there’s smoke, there’s just a smoke machine. Basically, while The Return continued to be the year-long rumor that refused to die, very few people saw much in the story besides the story. Of course, the Cavs were going to court LeBron, as any team with the cap room and a drunk gunslinger’s chance of catching the eye of the best basketball player on the planet should have. And, for a league interested in becoming a year-long news cycle similar to the NFL, Cleveland presented The Angle: the plucky, oft-spurned suitor who croons and coos through 7-10 days of lead stories before James, eventually, though inevitably, returns to the pillowy-soft wedding bed of the Miami Heat.

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Cavs: the Podcast 0051 — Decision Eve?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

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With all the hyperbole, rumor, and silliness floating around, Tom and I went in into the broadcast booth to talk about LeBron and his options. Who’s whispering in his ear? Will he return to Cleveland? Have the opinions of random Northeast Ohioans who have tenuous affiliations with the King reached a critical mass? Will Pat Riley pull off another miracle? Who else could the Cavs add? What if our hopes are dashed? We may know the answers later today.

For now, listen to us while you’re glued to your Twitter feed. We can be heard on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/ctb-5/0051-decision-eve-deja-vu-2014

LeBron Quick Takes

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Seems wasteful to exert much energy over the LeBron to CLE rumors until something more permanent starts to take shape.  As a person with access to zero “sources” it makes even less sense.  We’re analysts, fans, and supporters, not insiders.  But, I’ve had plenty of thoughts and conversations about all the rumblings lately.  I thought I’d share them.

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On everyone’s emotions:

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6 Deep: Coming into Focus

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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1.) Your favorite NBA finals moment was?

Tom: Ginobili’s dunk on Bosh.  Had I been in San Antonio I would have rushed the court.  Before security could get to me I’d have run up to Bosh to say “good job, good effort!”  I’d do LeBron’s push-up dance as I was being hauled off.  Maybe sneak an elbow to the nuts on Ray Ray in revenge for Varejao.  #neverforget

Ben: Manu’s leap-back 3 (steps don’t cover 8 feet) with the crowd already delirious from his Throwback-Throwdown. As I was still bouncing around from the dunk, I just started giggling when I saw him gather his footwork. There are some shots that you just know are going in.

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Links to the Present: Hot Edition

Friday, June 6th, 2014

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The biggest news of the past day has to be LeBron James cramping up during the first game of the Finals because the air conditioning wasn’t working at the Spurs’ arena.  That led to Bud Shaw figuring out how we can get Mr. James back to Cleveland.  Hire Mr. Freeze.

Not to say the Cavs are desperate to land James, but no doubt they’d consider hiring Albert Belle as their thermostat control expert if that’s what it took.

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The Point Four-Ward: NBA Finals Edition

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

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Four things I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) Over the years, the NBA Finals have produced only a handful of memorable player v. player rivalries. The playoffs have had their share, but try to name the real iconic head-to-head match-ups in the Finals. Can’t think of many, can you? Magic and Bird, obviously. Wilt and Bill Russell. What else? Michael Jordan and Bryon Russell? No, maybe not.

Generally, the feuding and chippiness that makes us love the playoffs is more often reserved for the Conference rounds, where teams (like Miami and Indiana recently) can meet repeatedly over several years fielding similar rosters and let Player X draw a big red circle around Player Y and go after him with each player’s legacy firmly at stake.

But there is just such a match-up in this year’s Finals, as Tim Duncan and LeBron James will be facing each other in the Finals for the third time in their careers.

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Links to the Present: Not Really Cavs Edition

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

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The news surrounding the Cavs right now is sparse.  Chad Ford is saying very obvious things about the draft for the team: “First, team doctors are going to have to get comfortable with Embiid’s back. If there is any hint it might require more treatment or long-term correction, the chances of Embiid going No. 1 dwindle.”  No new crazy trades or scenarios are being proposed aside from the ones trying to get Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Kevin Love, or LaMarcus Aldridge to the Cavs.  Everyone wants those guys.

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