The day was July 10th, 2010, everyone at my summer camp had sat around the television. Kids as young as 7 years old sat criss-crossed talking amongst each other. The teens and adults were arguing over stats and how would this master plan ever work? Could Miami rise again?
I had no idea what was going on, I wasn't much of a sports fan when I was 15 years old, I asked one of the counselors why everyone was gathered around the television. He told me they were awaiting "The Decision" His eyes lit up when those two words were uttered.
The oldest gentleman was 45 years old and he screamed "Shut up ya'll, LeBron is about to say what he's goin' do." I said to myself "Who's LeBron, what decision?" Suddenly everything went quiet, 20 breaths were held simultaneously, no one moved. LeBron commanded all the attention like a general prepared to speak to his men.
The crowed erupted, hand shakes, fist-bumps, clapping. The rest you can say is history. The Miami Heat dominated the Eastern Conference for the next four years, made countless enemies and won two NBA championships.
The day was July 11th, 2014, everyone at my office had sat around their computers. Many of us anxious like 7 years old sitting criss-crossed talking amongst each other. Many of us were arguing on stats and if Pat Riley could make his master plan work.
An article was published on Sports illustrated, we all read it sadly.
Just like that, it was the return of The King.
As a die-hard Miami Heat fan, I will admit, I was disappointed and frustrated, but I understood. LeBron did something few athletes would ever do, he sacrificed his legacy for everyone in Northeast Ohio. He truly became the people's champion. His return was messianic, in a sense. He left to grow as a leader and a man. Cleveland hasn't won a championship in 51 years, in any major sport.
LeBron's return home isn't as picture perfect as it paints out to be, the chemistry hasn't really been there between their big three. The Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the Eastern Conference with LeBron returning to Cleveland, they even made it to the NBA Finals against The Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry. The battle for the one ring that rules them all had begun. LeBron James v.s. Stephen Curry's duel was that of David and Goliath proportions. LeBron had been the face of NBA since 2003, now this baby faced assassin challenged LeBron's quest for his third NBA championship. Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors had dealt the finishing blow to Cavaliers, they were brought to their knees at The Land.
Now, this year's NBA Finals seems to be shaping up to be a repeat of last year.The NBA's baby faced assassin seems deadlier and deadlier with each passing game, and I don't see LeBron being able to defeat him.
This is LeBron's conundrum, by agreeing to return to Cleveland, he has placed his legacy in a tough situation. If he ever leaves Cleveland again he will be looked down upon as a quitter, as a man who only cared about his championships and used the down-trotted luck of Cleveland to stroke his own ego, to be their greatest only when it was convenient for him.
If LeBron fails to bring that city a championship, even if he retires there, he will be a fraud. His greatness will be doubted in Cleveland, scorned for giving his prime years to the Miami Heat and not to his home.
The King's only hope for a beautiful ending is bringing home a championship. To bring a city that has been left bruised, beaten and forgotten over the hill and and into greatness once again. I respect LeBron a lot more as a person because of his willingness to place his entire legacy on the line for this city, to be savior of a frozen barren plain who's only hope is this 17 year old kid from Akron, Ohio.
Somehow, I think The Return of The King is just not enough to save his kingdom.