You need not be a basketball fan to have heard the news this week that basketball superstar LeBron James is returning home to play for his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. James was drafted # 1 out of high school after a fantastic school boy career in Ohio. James played seven years for the Cavaliers, before leaving for Miami, where he felt he could do something there that he was unable to do in Cleveland: Win an NBA Championship. James was right. He spent four years in Miami and went to the NBA Finals every year, and won 2 NBA Championships during his four years playing for the Miami Heat.
James departure from Cleveland four years ago was not without controversy, as many people criticized the young superstar for the way he handled leaving. Instead of personally contacting the owner, management and his teammates in Cleveland to inform him of his decision to leave, James held a nationally covered press conference to announce his decision to the world. People in Cleveland were angry, heartbroken, bitter and extremely disappointed to see their native son go. This news was particularly difficult because Cleveland has a very passionate fan base who desperately wants to win a Championship. Cleveland has not won a major professional sports championship in 50 years! The owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers blasted James in an open letter calling James a “coward” for leaving. Cleveland fans took to the streets to voice their displeasure and even burned their LeBron James basketball jerseys.
After so much bitterness and hate, how could LeBron James ever consider returning back to play for a city of fans who despised him for leaving, not to mention an owner who called him out publicly and criticized him to the entire world? Yet that exactly what LeBron James did this week. James buried the hatchet between himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, and showed a true character and professionalism that all of us should be inspired to emulate. James could have taken more money to stay in Miami, but he said in an open letter released by Sports Illustrated that he understands that his presence in Ohio is “bigger than basketball.” He also wants to finish out his career by doing his best to bring Cleveland and its fans at least one NBA Championship.
Most of us will never have the fame, notoriety and platform that LeBron James has as the greatest basketball player in the world. You don’t need to be a LeBron James fan, or even an NBA fan to take a page from LeBron’s playbook of life. I believe we’ll all find in life that if we learn to do the right things for the right reasons, life is usually easier and less stressful for all of us. I’ve always enjoyed watching LeBron James, although I’m not a fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers. That being said, I do want to see James get his full redemption, which will only happen if and when he helps lead the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland their first major professional sports championship in over 50 years. I think when his career is all said and done James will lead Cleveland to multiple NBA Championships. I can’t wait to see it. It will be a great fairy tale ending, and both LeBron James and the city of Cleveland deserve it.
Peace, balance, health and happiness,