It couldn’t have been easy.
LeBron James’ decision to go to Cleveland seemed methodical, and well plotted.
His original ‘decision’ to go to Miami, where he heartlessly gutted the sports passion and souls of his hometown, took him in the direction of a villain.
He became a bad guy, one who took the easy way out and gave up everything to stack the odds in his favor for championship rings.
He went to play with one of the most hated men in Dallas. Dwyane Wade. Fortunately the Mavs got him in his first attempt at a title with his new team.
However, he changed from that moment on.
He didn’t let Wade depict how he would act or how hold him back from attaining everything he can.
LeBron grew not only as a man and basketball player, but also as a brand. He was even bigger after he finally got his titles.
Everything he touched turned to gold, even his firm signing Johnny Manziel (though the jury might still be out there).
At the height of his fame and endeavor to become the greatest of this era, he could have stuck around for another year with the Heat.
But he saw the writing on the wall.
Wade and his slithering spineless sputtering body would continue getting nights off while James carried the load night in and night out.
At the end of the Spurs series James realized two things.
He had spent more time over the last four years with people hating him than adoring him, and the Heat were now becoming the Cavaliers that he left. A team with one guy carrying the load and no future of that changing anytime soon.
So he opted out.
He took his time listening to offers and then quietly sat in a Las Vegas hotel room with Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins writing everything on his mind about his future.
Then it was released, leaving the speculators on the big television network flapping in the wind and reading his letter on TV!
SI, to 10-year-old me and even 33-year-old me, is the most classic sports magazine of all time.
His words showed that he was forgiving to Dan Gilbert and the citizens of Cleveland.
Despite their anger and rage, he understood he too made a terrible mistake.
James has grown as a person and has taken himself from being a kid succumbing to pressure of media and outside toils, to a transcendent athlete who can live up to the brand he has built.
I applaud LeBron for the way he went about his business and will use the word class when referring to him. Because he is no longer following the path of others, but blazing his own on his way to true greatness.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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