On the eve of LeBron’s third return to Cleveland, the first of this season, the headlines are perhaps the complete opposite to what you would expect.
James was filling out his media commitments when he offered a thought that surprised everyone.
“I think it would be great, it would be fun to play in front of these fans again.
I had a lot of fun times here. You can’t predict the future. Hopefully you continue to stay healthy. I’m here as a Miami player and I’m happy where I am now but I don’t rule that out in any sense. If I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me.”
The statement has drawn hugely emotional responses from all regions of Ohio, but not all have been negative.
Twitter lit up following the release of the quotes, with several Ohioans showing humility as they expressed their forgiveness for their once hallowed god and were open to seeing him return. Obviously there were still the lunatics that demand blood who told LeBron to go to hell, amongst other things.
Despite what any Cleveland Cavalier fan will tell you (I feel I am in a position to say this as I am myself a Cavs fan), there is not one out there that can honestly tell you they would not want him back. Whatever hostility they still hold for LeBron James is far outweighed by the love they had for him before this all went down.
There was never a more loved athlete within a community than LeBron James. He was the local kid who grew up in circumstances gripped by poverty and grief, without a father and without direction. He was the most famous high school athlete in the history of sport and fate had it that Cleveland would be in the position to select him with the first pick in the 2003 draft.
He holds nearly every record for the franchise, took them to their first Eastern Conference Championship and first Finals appearance. He was the first Cavalier to win the MVP award. Everyone loved him for what he did on the court, but more importantly he drew their respect off it.
James is widely known around the league as one of the most willing and outgoing participants with charity, constantly attending and hosting events. He has several programs around the country that encourage education and physical activity. He has made it his own life mission to ensure his home town of Akron receives the funding and care it needs to enable appropriate educations to all of it’s students.
From those looking from the outside, meaning the people outside of Cleveland, which is the majority of the country, it is hard to understand but Cleveland and Akron are two very different places. James cited that growing up he and his friends and fellow students of Akron disliked the kids of Cleveland because they were looked down upon by the wealthier kids from the city. Akron holds little if any disdain towards LeBron’s departure because they support the person rather than just the player, because they know the person behind the player and have seen everything he has done for them. Many Clevelanders cannot say the same.
Nonetheless the King returns to his former Kingdom tomorrow where he will surely receive another rousing reception of hatred. Obviously not to the level of that first return in December 2010 but I have no doubt there will still be a significant amount of petty fans that still haven’t moved on with their lives.
It would be a wonderful and unprecedented thing if LeBron was able to return to Cleveland at some point in the future and help the team win it’s maiden Championship.