You will never, ever hear me call LeBron James a decent person. As much as he tries to come off as one of the NBA’s good guys, it will be impossible for me to forgive how he treated my home town. He is a two-faced asshole who deserves all the venom tossed his way. His recent flirtations with returning to Cleveland represent classic LeBron, an obnoxious reminder of how thirsty he is for attention.
“I think it would be great, it would be fun to play in front of these fans again,” James said after the Heat’s practice Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I had a lot of fun times here. You can’t predict the future. Hopefully you continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami player and I’m happy where I am now but I don’t rule that out in any sense. If I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.” [ESPN]
Still, you’re kidding yourself if you think that I wouldn’t welcome him back with open arms.
Yes, his “Decision”” will go down as one of the worst events in Cleveland’s storied (for all the wrong reasons) athletic history. It inspired legions of sports fans to see past LeBron’s bubbly exterior, and understand him for what he really was: spoiled and egotistical, to an absurd degree. But, at least in Cleveland, the event allowed us to use anger to mask emotions that would have otherwise been much more complicated to deal with. Had he left in a normal manner, without the spotlights and recruiting, Clevelanders would have had to cope with feelings of dejection and abandonment.
It’s much easier for a grown man to attack an athlete with a barrage of insults than to admit that, deep down inside, we miss him. And, no matter what anybody tells you, Clevelanders miss LeBron. How could you not? For seven years, our city was relevant, and we had the privilege of watching a world class athlete night in and night out. LeBron James made professional sports more fun for Clevelanders than it had been since Jim Brown suited up. And Brown’s excellence really doesn’t offer much comfort for those of us younger than 40.
After months of speculation and one historically bad decision, LeBron took his talents elsewhere. Cleveland has been searching for a positive identity ever since. 2011’s draft looks to be paving the way: the fantastic play of Kyrie Irving is awesome to take in, and Cavs games are actually fun to watch again. And if a couple of ping pong balls bounce our way, the future could yield a better top-to-bottom team than any squad LeBron played for.
But, for as sunny as our future is beginning to look, people that stick their noses up at the prospect of LeBron returning are either stupid or lying to you. Having pride is all well and good, but so is winning, and, post-season mishaps considered, LeBron wins games. And, fuck, am I hungry for a winning team. I will never completely forgive LeBron James, but if the day comes where he dons a jersey with “Cleveland” adorning the front, I’ll be the first to welcome him back. And my guess is that, when the time comes, a fast beak and-one dunk will inspire others to do the same.
Previously: The Return Of Cleveland’s Exiled King