Can you imagine the disappointment as a sports fan, to know that your hometown hero, the “Chosen One” left to go to another team, to win a championship. Not 1, Not 2 , Not 3, Not 4, But 8 titles! During this pep rally this did not sound like a man that regretted leaving and did not sound like he had any intentions of coming back!
As a Cavalier’s fan the man you once decided to give your heart too stepped on it in less than 30 second, by saying he would be “taking his talents to South Beach“. Cleveland fans had two decisions, trade their white jerseys that read “James” and the number 23 out for a black jersey that read on the back “James” and the number 6, or you could resent James for the rest of their sports-loving lives. ESPN did not show the bandwagon fans, they only showed these angry fans that showed their hate for James in tweets, Facebook post, a strongly worded letter from Cleveland’s owner Dan Gilbert, and the infamous burning of jerseys.
December 2nd,2010 is known as one of the most monumental days in the career of LeBron James. His first game back in Cleveland, the whole day ESPN showed multiple citizens from Cleveland that were recorded that had multiple hurtful words about James; “Coward” and “Traitor” were common words heard among these fans. One man told one of the local news stations, James is “The most hated man in Cleveland”… that probably was the truth. “7 great years” ruined by a “30 second” decision. The heckling began for LeBron James when he stepped onto the court at 7:25 p.m. until the final buzzer sounded. December 5th showed LeBron how much he really hurt these fans, but being the professional he is, he led his team with 38 points and 8 assists. On this night, the healing process for Cleveland and the Akron native on began, slowly but surely. Reggie Miller said it best when he said “Cleveland Grow up“; Cleveland continued to struggle the 2010-2011 season, so were the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat’s big 3 help them stay afloat though, they were able to clinch a playoff berth. They made it through the Eastern Conference Finals and then they ran into a Mavericks team that was not honestly better, they just played better as a team. Lebron tasted his second dose of defeat in the finals. The fans of Cleveland rejoiced and some would say were happier than Maverick’s fans.
But the next two years, LeBron became a man! Lebron won 2 straight MVP’s, 2 finals MVP’s,and of course 2 championship titles! You saw a different breed of LeBron fans developing, the same fans who heckled him for being a traitor were starting to root for him and asking him to return to Cleveland. March 20th, 2013 LeBron returned to Cleveland for another game, with a little over 8 minutes left in the game, a Cleveland fan ran on the court that read 2014 free agency, telling LeBron to come home. Its ironic how big of a difference two championships can make in the mind of a heckling fan!
2014 comes around and Cleveland fans can’t help but be optimistic, James had one of the best seasons of his career(Not better than Kevin Durant, according to the MVP votes) he played well and advanced to the NBA Finals with the same Big 3 but with a different supporting cast. The Spurs were seeking revenge from a year ago and they achieved their goal, by dismantling the Heat in five games!
Then there was the decision if LeBron would opt into the final 2 years of his contract, or would he opt-out for Free Agency. On June 24,2014 James became a free agent. Then the NBA went into the frenzy. He had matured from 2010 and you could tell by the way he handled his decision process. June 25th James left and took his family on vacation while agent Rich Paul met with all teams interested and would return to tell LeBron what was said. The best part about the process is that Lebron did everything on his own terms. He made Pat Riley travel to Vegas to meet with him. He went to play basketball at his camp with the top high school prospects in the country. Then he traveled back to his Miami home.
On July 11th nobody knew when to expect LeBron’s decision because there was no timetable according to Rich Paul, but early Friday afternoon Sports Illustrated reported that LeBron James would be Going Back Home.
Giving Northeastern Ohio what they wanted all along, for their King to come back to his Kingdom.