Those who follow this blog know that I’m a Cleveland, Ohio boy, born and raised – and a LeBron James fan. Just as I was a Jim Brown fan in my boyhood days. What else can you possibly be when the greatest player in a particular pro sport plays for YOUR hometown team?
But unlike many in Northeast Ohio, I continued to be a LeBron fan even after he left town to pursue championship rings in Miami.
Then, like everyone in Cleveland, I rejoiced in King James’ homecoming – and the fact that he took the Cavaliers to four NBA finals appearances in a row. And, oh yeah, the glorious moment when he brought Cleveland it’s first pro sports championship since Jim Brown led the Browns to the NFL title in 1964.
So, when LeBron decided to take his talents to Los Angeles this summer, I did not waiver in my fandom.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve lived in Los Angeles since 1990 – but that’s not the reason I’m still a loyal fan of The King.
In fact, the reasons that I approve of LeBron’s move to Los Angeles have been best expressed by the passionate words of a native of L.A., the son of a great friend of mine – and a wise young man who plays varsity basketball for my alma mater, Northwestern University.
Charlie Hall says it better than I could myself. (In bold italics below)…
I am a LeBron James fan. I am a Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Despite being from Los Angeles, I have NEVER been a Los Angeles Lakers fan. That being said, this is bigger than me. There is a larger mission here. That mission is simple: restore good in the universe.
In other words: Beat the Golden State Warriors. The 73-9, adding Kevin Durant, dancing, gaslighting, EVIL Golden State Warriors.
Perhaps shooting threes is more efficient than a hard drive into a contact layup. It’s worth more points and it takes less energy. I get it.
However, jacking up a three point shot from damn near half court and shimmying your way to your bench to high five Kevin Durant? That lacks heart. That lacks integrity. That lacks ANY of the qualities that are consistent with why we love basketball. The grit. The strength in the face of adversity. It’s all gone.
If we’re being honest with ourselves, the Warriors are going to win. Again and again. Forever. Or until a core member leaves or gets injured.
Now, there is ONE other factor that can derail the Warriors. His name is Lebron James. The philanthropist, family man, forceful inside presence. The man that brought a championship to the city of Cleveland. The GOOD GUY.
He needs guys around him and didn’t have that in Cleveland. Let’s get one thing straight, he doesn’t have it in Los Angeles either. However, he CAN attract the talent. The talent needed to dethrone evil. Horrible, horrible evil.
A part of me wishes LeBron stayed. The little kid from Akron, bringing championships to his hometown, with little to no help? It’s picturesque. It’s gorgeous.
But he’s 33 years old. His time is running out. The chances of him bringing more rings to Cleveland were zero. ZERO.
I’m not sure how much time we have left with this legend, the greatest ambassador the league has ever had — this role model for so many. But I do know one thing: His work isn’t done. We need him to give us one more unforgettable moment. One more.
That moment could’ve happened in Philly, Houston, Boston, San Antonio, anywhere. But now it has to happen in Los Angeles.
So please Mr. James. Whatever you have left. Use it to dunk on Stephen Curry. Use it to defend Kevin Durant. Get Draymond a tech. Do what you have to do. But let’s be clear: You HAVE to do it. There is no other option.
Forever a Cavs fan.
Forever a LeBron fan.
And for the sake of all things good: A newfound Los Angeles Lakers fan.