It’s hard to remember now, but a few months ago there were so many obstacles between LeBron James and a potential return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chief among them, many believed, was the seemingly irreparable nature of his relationship with team owner Dan Gilbert. After the founder of Quicken Loans wrote that immature, embarrassing letter – in Comic Sans! – condemning LeBron for leaving Cleveland in 2010, it was easy to believe that James would never play for a Cavs team with Gilbert at the helm.
But that assumption failed to account for LeBron’s personal growth and all-around self-awareness. He’d come to loathe the way he approached The (original) Decision, and understood how his actions could lead to such outright vitriol from not only Gilbert, but Cavs fans everywhere. Once the two buried the hatchet during a ballyhooed, internet-investigated meeting in Miami a few days before LeBron’s announcement, the only thing standing in the way of The King’s homecoming had been eradicated.
James has mostly steered clear of discussing his relationship with Gilbert since his announcement. Via ESPN’s Dave McMenamamin, though, he recently expanded on why he was able to forgive and forget:
“How did I forgive? I’m a man,” James said. “Men, we all make mistakes…”
“As a man, if you got a problem with somebody, you sit down face to face and you talk to them eye to eye. And you hash it out and move on,” James said. “So, I think a lot of things that go on in life or in sports with people kind of holding grudges is because they’re afraid to actually take a step forward. It’s a fine line between pride and progress, and I’m on the progress side. I’m not on the pride side.”
We’ll look past the gender specific nature of LeBron’s overall sentiment – it’s a great one.
Too often do parties of all natures let past disagreements influence present day circumstances. Everyone makes mistakes, and James is mature enough to realize his return to the Cavs is far bigger than any four-year rift between he and Gilbert. It obviously helps that he can admit his errors of 2010 contributed to the owner’s response, too.
The line about pride and progress? Epic stuff. Is James a basketball player, philosopher, or therapist? If taking steps forward is the ultimate goal in all endeavors, long-held grievances preventing them won’t get anyone anywhere. That’s what LeBron is so poignantly saying here, and it’s a universal truth everyone would be better off realizing.
Kudos to James for such perspective and maturity. Especially because, frankly, we’re not sure we could’ve made amends with Gilbert.
What do you think?
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