For the past week, it seemed like we had been held hostage by LeBron James as we waited for him to decide where he would take his talents. We have been down this road before when four years ago, he crushed Northeastern Ohio's collective hearts when he took them to South Beach. I believed that our hometown boy was going to do right by us and stay to bring us the championship that he had promised. He was hailed as the best basketball player that had ever lived and I bought into the hype. This time I refused to open myself up again for the rejection.
Cleveland has suffered rejection before. Let us not forget Carlos Boozer convincing Gordon Gund, the former owner of the Cavs, a blind man no less, to let him out of his contract with only his word that he would sign a new long term contract. He then went and signed a multi-year contract with Utah. Most people don't even remember that. It was not that James left, it was the way he did it. We don't begrudge people the opportunity to take the best path in life. To see what life is like somewhere else. Heck, who hasn't wanted to go away for college or live on the beach? The difference here is that most people don't hold an hour long press conference on prime time television to stick it to the place that has shown so much passion and respect.
I am happy that the decisions that I made when I was 25 didn't effect the economy of an entire region. When I was 25 I made the biggest decision of my life when I married Dave. Aside from the 198 people that attended the wedding, nobody even cared. (I assure you that those 198 people enjoyed a spectacular evening.) LeBron was 25 when he made his decision to go to Miami. For the previous five years, he and his family had every whim and wish catered to. In short, he was a spoiled brat. I am glad that people can't remember what a brat I was when I was at that age.
LeBron has grown up. He is a father of two with one on the way. He has had four years (the equivalent of a standard college education) to experience life away from home. He has had four years to recover from the backlash of the Decision part I. I am not sure that he was expecting us to react so strongly since he had never been shown anything but love. Cleveland was justifiably upset by the betrayal and I think it took all of us time to recover. That time is now.
I don't think people outside of this area fully understand what LeBron brings to us. Cav's season tickets sold out in eight hours. That means that all of the home games will be sold out bringing people downtown to eat and shop. The city of Cleveland is electric. There is true joy in the air. In the past week, Cleveland has landed the Republican National Convention and the prodigal son is coming home. Perhaps this will show people that Cleveland has come a long way from being the "Mistake on the Lake." Just like LeBron should not be judged for his youthful mistakes, Cleveland should be judged on what it is now not 40 years ago.
LeBron is coming home. He finally understands what this area has to offer, not only for himself, but for his family as well. I think he finally understands that nobody will love him like we do. He understands that when he is here, we are all better. I think he understands that he can make a big difference in the lives of the people that live here. He understands that this is a great place to raise a family and most importantly, he understands that there really is no place like home.