The Short Game: Lebron James Shows You Can Always Go Home


Mike Carlson, Spear Contributor

I’ll be the first one to admit, I was not a fan of Lebron James for a period of time. The Decision, although the intentions were good, was about as well thought out as any of Nic Cage’s recent movie choices. Not to mention, it irritated most sports fans. Going to a Raiders game would have been less irritating well maybe not, but you get the point: Lebron James wasn’t making any friends by choosing to play for the Miami Heat.

However, my opinion of Lebron James changed this past summer when he announced his return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers.

I suddenly was no longer a Lebron detracter. In fact, I became one of his most enthusiastic supporters. But what, you ask, turned my chants of “quitness” back to “witness”?

It’s simple. Lebron James reminded me of why we love sports.

In today’s era of free agency where the term “sellout” has nothing to do with packing a stadium, I was reminded by Lebron that there is nothing quite like going back home. After all, the whole concept of free agency is pretty new. It wasn’t even a thing in the NBA until the end of the 80’s. And don’t get me wrong, I’m as much a supporter of free agency as the next Yankee fan. Athletes should be able to be shopped for their talents.

With all of that in mind, free agency does reveal the character of an athlete. You either retire the hero or live long enough to see yourself play for the rival team. Insert Brett Favre joke here. After his move back to Cleveland, Lebron James looks an awful lot like the hero. Now add in that Lebron single-handedly brought three time NBA All-Star Kevin Love with him upon his return and suddenly Cleveland’s own son becomes a front-runner for Executive of the Year.

Lebron’s homecoming, which is still only a little bit better than Arapahoe’s version, shows that you can always return home. There is always a second chance in sports and Lebron embodies this idea. We love sports because we love the chance of redemption. Lebron is getting his chance to right a past wrong and frankly we should all be so lucky to have that chance. It’s a narrative which encompasses the entirety of life wrapped up nicely in a two and a half hour basketball game.

Additionally, we love the underdog and let’s face it Cleveland has been an underdog in every sense of the word. This is a city where “John Elway” and “Michael Jordan” have become taboo topics. Both had some of their best moments on a Cleveland stage as an opposing player. Lebron has the unique opportunity to have his best moments on very same stage. Only this time he is doing it wearing a home uniform in his hometown. He will write the best chapters of his career in his hometown. Not even Miami Heat fans can be upset with that storyline.

If Nike’s “Together” ad is any indicator of the season the Cavs and the city of Cleveland will have with the King back, it will be truly something to witness.