“I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
These words closed off a heartfelt letter that LeBron James wrote to every basketball fan on earth, and it was awesome.
The best basketballer on the planet was accepting the challenge to create one of the greatest stories in professional sports history. He was accepting his mistakes of the past, accepting the mistakes of others, continuing to represent his home with pride and pledging to bring his people their first championship in over 50 years.
He was coming home.
“The Decision II” as it was so often referred could not have gone better for James in comparison to 2010, yet it still featured its fair share of pandemonium and wild speculation. The difference this time around however was that James and his associates had no direct influence on the volume of hype. There were no marketing campaigns, there were no TV specials, this was just about a man who knew what he wanted and did what was necessary to make it happen. He made his decision on his own but most certainly not just for himself.
The basketball growth of LeBron James since 2010 is obvious. He improves every year and has become arguably the most complete player the NBA has ever seen. The growth of LeBron James as a man is just as obvious and the only people who can’t see it are those who simply don’t want to. Take a look at 2010’s “Decision” and tell me that’s the same guy? There’s just no comparison.
So what does this mean in the wild and whacky world of sports legacies? Some will still play the tired “Jordan would never have done this” game and well, I gotta say their audience is getting smaller and smaller. LeBron James could have won another two or three titles in Miami and it still would have been seen by some as an amazing feat but “not as good as Jordan”.
The fact is, if James brings just ONE championship to Cleveland, he will be a sporting God walking among mere mortals. It’s true, whether people like it or not.
This isn’t just about Cavalier fans wanting that trophy either. If James gets back to the Finals with the Cavs either in this configuration or another, he will see unparalleled support. The sporting sentimental in a lot of people will be rooting for Cleveland, regardless of which team they regularly follow. As LeBron said in his statement, this is bigger than basketball. By returning home, James shows everyone in Ohio and more importantly the world that you’re allowed to branch out, allowed to grow and ultimately allowed to come home.
It’s an epic story, and now we wait for the epic fairy tale ending to become reality.
Everyone has a different opinion on James’ decision this time around, personally I think this is the best take of all.