The Prodigal LeBron Comes Home

As Al Michaels said in 1980 at the Olympic hockey championship, this impossible dream comes true.

That’s how it feels in Cleveland today with the announcement by basketball’s best player, LeBron James, that he is returning to northeastern Ohio to resume his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While everyone (us included) spewed venom over James’ departure four years ago, we have to explain our feelings this way. We are Cavaliers fans, and we support people who play for the wine and gold.

So, those feelings are set aside today.  If Dan Gilbert and James can sit down and set aside the situation that occurred after the latter took his talents to South Beach, then fans can put them aside as well.

Because in basketball, where only five players are on the court at one time, one player makes more of a difference in this sport than in baseball and football, so a talent like James makes the Cavaliers an instant contender for a championship.

Perhaps we are quick to forgive James because it’s been 50 years since a Cleveland professional sports team has won a championship, but remember this: In 2003, when the Cavs drafted James with the first pick in the draft, he had to play here.

This time, he wanted to come home and play for the Cavs.

And because of that, most fans will give LeBron the benefit of the doubt and will welcome him back with open arms. After all, we are a forgiving society.

Even around the country, James has improved and repaired his reputation. Most fans outside of Miami were disappointed with him leaving Cleveland, and his return is being viewed with favor by most of the US.

Even if the Cavs don’t make any more moves (which is doubtful) this off-season, the wine and gold already have a player better than anyone James played with in his first stint with the Cavaliers in Kyrie Irving, a two-time all-star.

That’s no disrespect to all of the players who made the playoffs a yearly event at Quicken Loans Arena prior to 2010. It’s simply the truth.

And since James has always been a gifted passer, he should be a good fit for new coach David Blatt’s offense which features ball movement.

Now, James comes back to the franchise as a championship player, one who can set the tone for a still very young roster. He can show them how difficult it is to win an NBA title.

And it is a much bigger story for him and his “brand” to come back to the area where he grew up, and now he can raise his family here and watch his children go the St.Vincent-St. Mary and play in the gym that bares his name.

Seriously, when was the last time a great player in his prime decided to play in Cleveland, Ohio?

Whatever contempt you had for James when he left should be tempered that the best basketball player in the world, and someone who is known throughout the planet has decided to work in our city.

Coupled with the Republican Convention coming to town in 2016, it’s been a helluva week for northeastern Ohio.

JK

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