Friday, July 11, 2014

Return of the King

It’s been four long years since Cleveland fans first heard the phrase, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” It’s been four long years since fans burned No. 23 jerseys in the streets of Cleveland, and Dan Gilbert scorned his “cowardly betrayal” in a scathing open letter.

But now LeBron James — the King, the Chosen One, The Whore of Akron — is coming home.

Today, in a letter published on Sports Illustrated’s website, James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still, it’s hard to forget the agonizing four years that he spent in a Miami Heat uniform. So before we parade through the street, let’s take a minute to remember how we got here with these Cleveland Magazine excerpts.

His mom, Gloria, called him a “hometown boy,” but fans were still expecting the worst leading up to his first Decision.

      “It panders to our deep-seated insecurities, our feelings of abandonment and inadequacy. And why shouldn’t it? This kind of stuff has been going on for quite some time. Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller bolted Cleveland for New York. BP America packed up and left for Chicago. Hell, even Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was a Clevelander before he became the man who bankrolls our most hated baseball rivals.” — from “King of All Media,” February 2010

For Cavs devotees, it was bigger than James, and it was bigger than sports. James’ move meant we had lost our chance to silence the critics.

   “We've always wanted to surprise the rest of the country with Cleveland's greatness, and he made it happen. People saw us differently because of him. Then, when we ran into a tough time and really needed him, he was gone.” — from “Our Miserable Year,” December 2010

James instantly became the most hated figure in Cleveland sports history. While some made the argument that no one could be more hated than Art Modell, the notorious owner that moved the Browns to Baltimore in 1995, Esquire writer Scott Raab, author of The Whore of Akron, dismissed that idea. 

   “Any Cleveland sports fan who believes in karma forgets that Art Modell won a Super Bowl. Had the Browns not been restored, Modell would stand alone as the most hated figure in the city's sports history. Now, LeBron stands alone.” — from “Raab Rage,” March 2011

A year later, Cleveland fans were comforted, as James lost his first championship appearance with the Heat. It seemed Dan Gilbert’s promise to “deliver a championship to the city” before James might come true, but former managing editor Jim Vickers knew better.

   “We'll be the first to admit, the nationwide LeBron James bashing that followed was fun. The piling-on was epic, previously unimaginable, really. It felt good. Demons were exorcised. But let's be clear: If we stay at this party much longer, we're going to end up with a nasty hangover.” — from “Letting Go of LeBron,” August 2011

Then, James won two championships with the Miami Heat, and the Cavaliers didn’t make the playoffs. Fans’ hatred hit new heights, but the honest among us were able to admit that they really just wanted him back.

   “Even the world’s harshest critic would welcome back the world’s best player.” — from “The Indecision,” August 2013

Now, the decisions and his days in a Heat uniform are all in the past. James and Gilbert have made amends, and fans have welcomed James back with open arms. As fans storm the city to celebrate the return of the King, there is only one quote to hang onto.

    “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.” – from “I’m Coming Back to Cleveland,” Sports Illustrated, July 11, 2014

1 comment:

cara mengobati penyakit gula said...

just blogwalking.. Nice post and have a nice day :)