LeBron James, who was born and raised in this very city has been able to deliver the first sporting championship to Cleveland since 1964!
LeBron raises the championship trophy high into the air for the Cleveland fans to admire. This was a fairytale that had come to life, that's how it was all meant to happen, wasn't it?
In the real world, the above will never happen (now). What has happened now is that LeBron James has signed on to play with two of his best friends who happen to be perennial All-Stars, in Miami.
I don't know too many NBA players past or present who were born/raised or played college in a city where they also made it their home for their professional career.
By the time LeBron was drafted, he had to fix up the mess that Cleveland had done the season before, a 17-win season. How is an 18-year-old kid meant to do that?
Well, he was branded The Chosen One, King James, etc., by the media. ESPN, Sports Illustrated put this kid's face everywhere claiming that he was the greatest high school player of all time.
So, when Cleveland drafted him, they knew that if anyone could turn this franchise around, it would be this 18-year-old kid who hadn't even bounced a ball in the NBA yet.
LeBron could have easily caved under pressure or not met expectations, but being just the third rookie ever to average more than 20,5,5 a game is a pretty good start.
We fast-forward three seasons and the Cavs lose in the Eastern Conference Finals, one year later they get swept in the finals.
Four years is all it took for LeBron to do this, and in the process making about one zillion dollars for the Cavaliers franchise and putting Ohio on the basketball world map and he did it without a perennial All-Star, the Scottie Pippen experiment.
Who were LeBron's "help" during these years?
I don't care if Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or Kobe Bryant had these guys on their team, there is simply no way they could have won an NBA championship.
What I don't understand is how can a team for the past two seasons finish with the top record in the league and not make the NBA finals?
In the 2009 playoffs, LeBron averaged 35.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 7.3 apg. In the 2010 playoffs, LeBron averaged 29.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 7.6apg. Incredible stats I am sure you agree.
The problem with the Cavaliers was exposed during the playoffs both in the past two seasons and that is the talent around LeBron are good enough to win the regular season best record but in the playoffs when the competition is higher and the pressure sets, that same talent cannot raise their game and contribute consistently.
LeBron (despite the Game 5 horror against Boston) had very good numbers but where was his "Scottie Pippen" or for the Kobe fans his "Pau Gasol"? Please don't say Shaq because he is 38 years old and well, he should have retired 5 years ago in my opinion.
My point is, when it mattered most nobody in Cleveland (management included) could help LeBron win a championship and although LeBron is good, heck, great! He could have scored 100 points a game and it wouldn't have mattered!
History proves every star had another star when the rings were being won. Not too many guys can turn a team around completely on their own, but LeBron managed to do that.
The Cavs organisation have had plenty of time to prepare for this free agency period and they always knew that there MIGHT be a chance that LeBron would leave.
Last season we saw the Cavs sign Jurassic Park O'Neal and Antwon Jamison (who went 0-12 in his Cavs debut), is it just me or does signing two guys in their mid-late 30's sound anything like building a "dynasty" around LeBron? it's a band aid solution, it's not solving Lebron's long term goals of winning rings in Cleveland.
I agree that LeBron may have retired in a Cavs uniform as the greatest player of all-time, but it's not his responsibility to recruit the pieces that will ultimately win rings, and Danny Ferry has done a terrible job in the past i.e, Ben Wallace, Wally Szcerbiak, etc.
The reality is LeBron wants to win a ring, several rings so badly that he would leave home to get them. Can you blame him for that? honestly?
He may have been busting his butt for seven more years without the help that he needs and become another Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley. While he is in his prime he needs to go and get those rings under any means necessary.
This is the way I see it. LeBron signs with Miami (Wade's team) and sacrifices being The Man, money, stats, spotlight all in order to have a realistic opportunity at winning.
If he stayed with Cleveland, he would have been loyal, he would have got a stack of money and would have been criticized for passing up the opportunity to win in Miami because his ego is too big.
Whatever way you look at it, no matter what team he chose, it would bring out a negative story.
A lot of people may think the actual move to Miami isn't as bad as The Decision on ESPN. There was a lot of interest in his decision and it was a smart business move because it helped charity, it helped ESPN get great ratings and it was a way to really close off the free agency period with a big bang.
LeBron is 25 years old, I can accept he has alot of growing up to do and it's obvious that he does/says things that are a little bizarre, but I do feel that if he had walked into Dan Gilbert's office, thanked him for the seven years and left with a handshake, we would STILL be reading about how selfish LeBron is and what a coward he is. One way or another there was no easy way for LeBron to leave town.
I won't even get started on Dan Gilbert's letter but it has made him look like the spoilt, immature brat out of all this.
LeBron made that franchise zillions of dollars and yet the greedy owner has decided to jump up and down because he has less cash to count now.
I want to know where the thanks are to LeBron for turning the team around and putting the Cavs on the map?
If you are in the NBA you want to win a championship, LeBron did his very best in Cleveland but now it's time for him to win with the help he should have got a very long time ago.