Who Said You Can’t Go Home Again?
by Chris Stevenson
Lebron James is headed back to Cleveland, who dared hoped or dreamed this would happen? Judging by the reaction of the sports media or American media in general as well as Northeast Ohio fans you’d think the Beatles had all miraculously returned and announced they were moving there from Liverpool. Isn’t Cleveland the home of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Well for the first time in four years there, Lebron rocks.
For years prior to June 8, 2010 Lebron was held up to God-like proportions. The last universally-known Kings were James Brown, and Michael Jackson. What would novelist Thomas Wolfe say about Lebron?
As critical as I have been towards King James over the years, even I can’t find fault with this move. Not that I am any threat to Lebron, but Stevensons have been a bane to James’ career, lol. Particularly DeShawn and Lance (spelled Stephenson), in the end they didn’t always beat James, but they took a toll on him. In the 2008 NBA Playoffs James’ Cleveland Cavaliers met DeShawn’s Washington Wizards, and though James’ team won the physical play and war-of-words between them, it had a lasting effect on him to where the Cavs lost to the Boston Celtics in the next round, the Eastern Conference Finals. In later seasons James would start winning MVP awards and go on awesome scoring sprees, but still not win a title. Then came 2010. Lebron became an unrestricted free agent. By this time he was a 2-time MVP, the Bulls, Heat, Knicks, Nets, Clippers and Cavs were vying for him. LBJ decided to make a production out of it, on 6/8 ESPN aired a special press conference called “The Decision” from their headquarters in Greenwich CT. That’s when he announced “I wake up one morning it’s this team, I wake up another morning it’s this team… this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” Of course part of that became a catchphrase, but on the other hand it turned the sports world upside down. He became the bad guy, most of the fans who gave him a pass by calling him “the greatest player ever” in spite of having yet to win the NBA championship at that point were now his most strident critics.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert topped this off by writing a scathing letter to the teams fans first published on the Cav’s official website. Black sports and political pundits said it was strong enough language and tone in it to invoke a disgruntled master bawling out a former slave.
Thus was born the Big Three. They finished the 2010/2011 season 58-24. They made it to the finals, but suffer a huge upset to a team of veterans on the Dallas Mavericks with defense from DeShawn while coming off the bench to shut down James. But the mind-games and pressure he took from Lance Stephenson in this year’s Eastern Conference Finals stuck with him after the Heat’s victory over the Indiana Pacers, and provided the basic blueprint for Kawhi Leonard to stop Lebron when it mattered, enough for the San Antonio Spurs to win their championship rematch. Simply put Lebron wasn’t the same. You can still get to him, he can still be had.
This should be of no surprise to those honestly observing Lebron. There is actually two sides to his game; clutch-Lebron, best manifested early in his NBA career with some last-second playoff shots, and since game-6 of the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals against the Celtics. And then there’s prima-donna-Lebron; The same Lebron that got his coach (Mike Brown) fired in Cleveland, the same Lebron that mocked Dirk Nowitzki for playing with a sinus infection in game-4 of the 2011 Finals. The same Lebron that complained of “cramps” in game one of this years finals against the Spurs because their air-conditioner malfunctioned (nevermind there was 25 other players in that game who labored under the same conditions), almost making it sound like a conspiracy. Unlike most players there is no closure to either side of the tale of two Lebrons, they can make their appearance at any given moment. The question here is, which Lebron made the decision to go back to Cleveland? We probably won’t really know the answer for years to come, but given the timing of sporting events and Lebron’s attention-junkie nature, we can make some pretty safe assumptions in the immediate term.
Off the court it’s safe to assume he is a model citizen. This is refreshing given the mentality of many of today’s American athletes, the majority of which nowadays come from homes headed by single-mothers. Lebron comes from a single mom, often the worst that results from that type of upbringing is the boy acting like a troubled female and not knowing it. He will mistake it as masculine behavior, but won’t really know because he didn’t have a male role-model to use as a guide. He’ll hold a grudge, he’ll take minor things personal, he’ll do dumb things based on petty jealousy, he’ll be a sneaky murderer like Aaron Hernandez or a wife-abuser like OJ Simpson, or have an uncontrollable temper like Pacman Jones. Most of these are usually the traits of problematic females. Lebron has his own mind. It’s safe to assume he’s charitable, he gives back. Even The Decision was in part a charitable effort. It’s all about the kids to Lebron.
This is the day of the FIFA World Cup Championship in Brazil, don’t assume Lebron didn’t think about this, in fact he’s going to be in attendance. No way does the Chosen One play 2nd fiddle to the world’s biggest sporting event even if the US is late to catching on to it, no way does Lebron get upstaged by Argentina’s superstar Lionel Messi. The King no doubt wants to see how much international media will take notice of him. I could be wrong, but just my opinion. Timing is everything. Understand, the problem with Lebron Raymone James isn’t what he has or hasn’t accomplished, the problem is what he has gotten away with or been allowed to get away with. This new deal with Gilbert shows he has grown much, but a young team will test his patience.
Chris Stevenson is a regular columnist for blackcommentator, and a contributor to the Hampton Institute, his own blog www.thebuffalobullet.com, and a syndicated columnist. Follow him on Twitter, and Facebook, you don’t have to join any of them. Watch his video commentary Policy & Prejudice for clbTV & Follow his Blogtalkradio interviews on 36OOseconds. Respond to him on the link below.