Nothing beats Mom’s cooking. No matter what city, or restaurant, nobody will ever get that recipe just right.
As one goes out on their own in search of their legacy, most of us always end up coming back close to home. The same can’t usually be said about most professional athletes. Very seldom do we hear about players yearning for nothing more than going back to where it all began.
Don’t get me wrong, there are always exceptions to every occasion. Cal Ripken Jr played baseball his entire career a stone’s throw away from where he grew up. Lucky for us, we were given the opportunity to watch it. It’s been quite a while since somebody of that magnitude has decided to go back to where he learned his craft. Only a few days ago, we witnessed somebody after a soul searching journey, finally come back home.
Lebron James was brought up in the city of Akron, garnering national attention before he even left high school. Playing for the Cavaliers was the realization of a dream. He would soon realize that in order to realize his mission of a championship, he would have to “take his talents,” elsewhere. So Miami became his new home with good friends Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosch. Needless to say this was about as infuriating for Cleveland fans as the Browns coming to Baltimore.
Not being a fan of the NBA then, I didn’t quite grasp the gravity of the scenario. Looking back as my appreciation of basketball grows, I liken his departure to Mark Teixeira going to the Yankees instead of coming to play for the Birds. (Which I am so glad he did. I mean his oft injured rear would have been an ankle weight on the rise of this team.)
In his defense, the reasoning behind his move to Miami is one that most people don’t seem to use anymore. Lebron simply wanted a title. While everybody else is focused on their max contracts and endorsements, Lebron said, “Friends, join me and together we shall hoist the trophy at the end of the year.” They would do just that two out of Lebron’s four years in Florida.
So there he sat. After having his team embarrassed by the Spurs, Lebron was left with a choice. Stay in Miami, and have an extreme voice in what type of players he would need to win again, or go somewhere else with a promising line up to guide them as a mentor to the promise land. After a lot of soul searching, Lebron made a choice that seemed to turn the world upside down….well ESPN anyway.
Lebron would decide to join Kyrie Irving, Anderson Verajao, and first round pick Andrew Wiggins back in Cleveland. While everybody else has seemed to bash him, and fans have restitched their Cleveland Jerseys back together, I want to take this moment to praise Lebron. While yes the hoopla of “the decision” was awful, I know why he did it. You sometimes must go out into the world, and truly find yourself. He won his titles, grew as a man, and finally said “time to take what I have learned and make this all about my home.” That has been missing from athletics for so long, it’s so refreshing to know there are still players who get it.
So while I will be a Wizards fan (as Baltimore is Still without a franchise), I may actually take my fandom to Cleveland. It’s not because I’m a Lebron fan, and it’s not because I’m a Cavaliers fan. It’s because I respect the man who in the eyes of most has become de facto “savior” of a city and a franchise.