LeBron James is not rejecting the glitz and glamour that we shower on the world's greatest basketball player, but he is allowing another value to enter into the mix, something bigger than cash, championships, and fame: the value of community.
The nation has largely decided to paint Carmelo Anthony, an easy target already, as a villain because we've been unable to paint LeBron James as one.
Love him or hate him, LeBron James's announcement transcends the world of sports. And, when looking at his life and career, it is hard not to think of him as the NBA's version of Batman.
This is and isn't about LeBron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is about a man growing up and breaking free. To understand the magnitude of LeBron's decision, we need to examine the Decision.
There was shock and surprise as Twitter blew up around 12:30 p.m. EDT on Friday as LeBron James announced his much-awaited decision via Sports Illustrated "I'm Coming Home." I was not surprised at all. I totally understood. Where you grew up is part of your soul.
The big problem is that Lebron made choices in 2010 that ignited the anger on both sides. Those who worshipped him felt betrayed. Those who were jealous of him were proved to be right. Everyone got to hate him. And that felt good for a while.
It's the kid from Akron's turn to help his hometown out. This will be fun to watch for the next few years as we again watch LeBron transition into another point in his life.
At 29 years old, LeBron James is the biggest superstar in the world. Yet this kid from Northeast Ohio, who had a difficult childhood, is a doting father, a loving husband and a wonderful son. His Akron roots run deep.
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LeBron has shockingly decided to "head back home" to Cleveland. And no matter your feelings on the situation, there are a lot of valuable lessons about setting your goals and knowing your worth that can be learned from Mr. James.
We have come to believe that sports professionals are disconnected from real life, that they seek only short-term profits and, as mercenaries for hire, they will play wherever the money is best and the lights shine the brightest. Could it really be that some professional athletes have a heart as well?
This is not a conquering hero returning home. This is a conquering ego. But hey, it was fun while it lasted, ticket prices will go down, we can't win them all, and maybe, just maybe, the national media will stop referring to Miami as South Beach.
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.
Let's put this into perspective with one sentence...
I don't know where James will play next season, but his current free agency offers an opportunity to make some amends to Cleveland fans, even if he decides to play elsewhere.
It was an NBA career with 977 games played and two championships won. Yet, beyond the games and accolades, perhaps the biggest mark newly retired NBA player, Shane Battier, made during his career was off of the court.