Thanks-But-No-Thanks LeBron James has rattled the NBA cage again by leaving the Eastern Conference Dynasty, the Miami Heat, and the warm ocean waters of South Beach to return to Cleveland, where it all started for him nine years ago.
Four years in a row the Miami Heat were in the NBA Finals, knocking at the door of an NBA title. Two NBA titles, two NBA MVPs, and two NBA Finals MVPs were not enough to keep James in Miami.
The bigger story for me is this: James is signing for just two years! I’m missing something here. Maybe his words were well placed. He let us into his thinking by saying his relationship with northern Ohio is greater than we will ever understand or know.
Two year contract? That’s like leasing and not buying all the way into returning to Cleveland. It’s like saying “I’m back. However. I understand Cleveland has not been in the playoffs since I left four years ago.”
That’s not diving head in; it’s like dipping your toe in Lake Erie and saying, “You guys have the clock running to warm this lake up.” But thanks to Cleveland winning the NBA lottery not once, not twice, but three times in four years, they now have the foundation and pool of young talented stars that James can connect with now and create a new explosive cell of NBA energy.
Some will look at this decision as courageous and noble and sweet and isn’t that nice, he’s going back. Hip hip hooray! He’s going back where his number-23 jerseys were burned, where the owner called him a coward, where he was vilified.
James is back to settle a score with Cleveland. Not since 1964 has anybody won a championship in Cleveland — not since Jim Brown and the Cleveland Browns.
Remember, in June James was in position to join Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago as three-peat NBA Champions. Was that pill so difficult to swallow that you say, I’m out! Or was it because the Spurs beat your team by 15 points in all four Finals games?
It’s not like the Spurs are leaving — the Western Conference is still a beast! Remember, LeBron, Phil Jackson is back, and he wins wherever he goes, East or West. As they say, time will tell.
LeBron James, welcome back to Cleveland. Now carry on.
Larry Fitzgerald can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday-Friday at 12:17 pm and 4:17 pm, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.