Before "The Decision," my perception of Cleveland sports was a positive one.
The Cleveland fans appeared to be loyal despite the fact that many of their sports teams have let them down at one time or another.
After the way they've acted in recent years, LeBron James might want to take a pass on coming back to Cleveland. However, it seems that LeBron has shown more maturity than the people who cursed his name four years ago.
Here are my reasons for and against King James making a return to Cleveland:
If LeBron goes back to Cleveland, he has a chance to bring to a championship to a city that hasn't had since the 1960s. Let's be real, LeBron can come back to a heroes' welcome. He is a student of the game's history. He knows his place in history will only be heightened is he does the impossible in Cleveland.
Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz was right when she said "There's no place like home." Most of us have no idea what it is like to play for the local sports in/near your hometown. In most cases, that doesn't work out (see Stephon Marbury, Chris Herren, and Eddy Curry). Ask Derrick Rose what it is like to play in his hometown. It may be convenient but it is not fun at all. However, James was the exception. From game one of his rookie season, he was the guy. If anything, he thrived off of playing in front of his hometown fans.
LeBron, or at least his inner circle, saw his jersey burned in effigy after "The Decision." That alone should make him stay away from Cleveland. It was the ultimate disrespect. Remember, if he goes back, those fans hated him four years are now his biggest fans. I guess these fans ain't loyal.
Dan Gilbert's Disrespect
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert might be one of the sorest losers in sports history. He trashed LeBron in a way we've never seen an owner do to a player. The letter that was on the team's website was taken down recently. It was up there for quite a while after LeBron signed with the Heat. Knowing how this guy treated him, why would LeBron go back and make money for this man? I hope Gilbert does the right thing and apologize.
The Cleveland Media Narrative
In the past week, I've heard words such as "redemption" and phrases "All will be forgiven" when describing a possible return to Cleveland by James. By using those words, one can ask what does LeBron owe Cleveland? Nothing at all. He doesn't owe them a thing. If anything, they owe him after all he did for the city. If the signs with the Cavaliers, he should be given the key to the city.
If LeBron ultimately decides to re-sign with the Heat, Cleveland fans will probably react like a jilted lover who let back in the person who spurned them previously. If that happens, there's no coming back from it.
In the eyes of Cleveland fans, LeBron will continue to their own version of Benedict Arnold.
Follow Evan F. Moore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/evanfmoore