The Return of the King
Hear ye, hear ye! The king has spoken, and he's coming back to his home soil in Northeast Ohio. Four-time MVP LeBron James, after being dethroned as an NBA champion by the San Antonio Spurs last June, turned down Miami's contract renewal offer and announced of moving back to the Cleveland Cavaliers to build yet another dynasty for his proud kingdom.
Four years ago, King James left the Cavs for greener pasture and united himself with other members of the elite rookie class of 2003, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, to turn Miami Heat into a formidable title contender in almost overnight. The then-hungry and eager basketball megastar got fed up with his seven unsuccessful years in Cleveland and decided to take the easier route by joining an All Star-laden team to get what was the only missing part of his identity as a legitimate NBA superstar: a championship crown.
And he did. After spending four seasons with his second team, LeBron bagged two NBA rings and reigned supreme during that stretch by winning both the Finals MVP honors and his last two Most Valuable Player of the season awards. The previous year was not all smooth sailing, but James practically carried the Heat to the Finals to defend their back-to-back titles and pull off a rare three-peat, but the San Antonio Spurs made him realize the reality that was right in front of him all along: his business with Miami is done, and it's time to go back.
No Place like Home
LeBron changed jerseys because he was a rebellious son. He was practically frustrated with the status quo in Cleveland in 2010 after repeatedly falling short from taking his first ever ring. As a baller compared by many to the great Michael Jordan, the pressure was intense for the younger LeBron. He knew that an NBA championship was only one thing to shut his haters up and prove his critics wrong, and there's no way for him to achieve it with the Cavaliers.
But now that he has two titles under his belt, he was vindicated and has finally earned the long-overdue respect that he deserves. James has shown the world that he can win it all, which was the main point of his trip to Miami. Now that he got that out of the way, he feels that it's time to return.
The Day of Atonement has come for LeBron to reconcile with the fans that first loved and believe in him, even before he became the best player in the world. Stones were hurled at him because of his selfish decision to play for an instant championship team at Cleveland's expense, but, as someone who has made mistakes and somehow betrayed his loyal Cavs fans, he was in no position to hold grudges.
In his Sports Illustrated piece, he said he wanted to know what it feels like raising his own family in his hometown. He added that his calling in his return to Cleveland goes beyond the sport. He knows his presence could do a lot of great things for the community, and nothing is more satisfying for LeBron than to make a difference in his own backyard.
More than Winning Championships
James, like any other athlete, always has his eye on the gold. With his coming back to Cleveland, however, the 10-time NBA All Star wants to pursue something higher. He wants to leave a legacy that would forever cement his spot in the consciousness of his hometown fans, which is to give Cleveland its first ever title in any sport in over 50 years. He left as an antagonist, but now that he's back, he could mend his broken image as the hometown hero. This is one of LeBron's greatest motivations for packing up for Cleveland. He has a deep sense of connection with Northeast Ohio, and he wants to be remembered this way.
This tougher challenge of winning a championship with a team that has practically no place in the annals of basketball history feeds LeBron's hunger to strive for greatness. At 29, James has received all the possible accolades any player could receive in the league along with two Olympic golds. If there's something he could still accomplish, it has to be earning the undying love of his local fans by quenching Cleveland's infamous title drought.
In Search of a Better Support
James is an extremely brilliant player. He's not just going to part ways with Miami without seeing a glimmer of hope in the roster of Cleveland. To LeBron, today's Cavaliers is a raw diamond that needs some polishing to become an immovable force in the East. The Cavs lineup is mind-blowing on paper; potentially four first overall NBA draft picks will all play together. It's not only that, the gap between the years each player entered the league were amazingly close: James (2003), Irving (2011), Bennett (2013), and Wiggins (2014).
The team also has promising young talents in Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. Not only that, Cleveland might land versatile center Kevin Love in a trade should they agree to include this year's top pick in the mix. His former Heat teammates Mike Miller and Ray Allen are among the hottest free agents at the moment, which may follow King James's footsteps and play for the Dan Gilbert franchise.
This only goes to show how smart LeBron truly is. He calculated the risks perfectly before refusing to resign with Pat Riley's offer. He knows that Cleveland is a team that can give him adequate support with players he can share the burden of carrying the team-something he no longer sees in Wade and Bosh-allowing him to enter the court with less pressure and play the way he wanted.
LeBron said he wanted to retire as a Cavalier. For a player with a controversial and colorful career ever since day one, there's no better end to his story. So unburn the number 23 jersey and welcome Cleveland's basketball royalty with open arms, because HE'S BACK.