Friday, February 17, 2012

Never the Same

     LeBron James has been permanently labeled as THE villain of not just the NBA, but the entire American sports universe...except in Miami. He is the only member of "Most Disliked Athletes in America" list to be completely scandal-free or not an ex-husband of Kim Kardashian, ranking right up there with Tiger Woods and Michael Vick, showing just how much people love to hate LeBron. It started off like a storybook, the highly touted phenom goes to play in his hometown, wins a bunch of games and gets to the championship series, albeit they lost both times they got there. During his stay in Cleveland, which is definitely not the most interesting place in world, trust me on this, I've been there, he won the MVP twice. He was the toast of the town, singlehandedly turning the moribund Cavs into perennial contenders. The key word, of course, is singlehandedly, as James never actually found a decent Scottie Pippen to play to his Jordan. This is when the story starts getting rocky, as Cavs owner Dan Gilbert tried to bring in premeir talent to appease him, knowing that if he couldn't get a suitable sidekick, James would leave. Gilbert, owner of Fathead, tried bringing in Hall of Famers, like center Shaquille O'Neal, and former stars, such as point guard Baron Davis and forward Antwan Jamison, but nothing worked.

     James was suddenly in high demand, and celebrities like rap mogul Jay-Z were courting him with their fame, most notably in the song Empire State of Mind. Ohio governors event went on to write a cover of Michael Jackson's We are the World titled Please Stay LeBron. The tension was obvious as the final season of his contract drawing to a close, and James was going to report is contract on a TV special known as "The Decision." Rumors swirled that Cleveland was the frontrunner and the Cavs even fired their coach in an effort to sign James, then New York, then New Jersey, even Dallas, but he eventually said the line that will live forever in infamy..."I'm taking my talents to South Beach." Riots ensued, James jerseys went up in flames, and the price of a LeBron James Fathead was set at $17.41, representing the year Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold was born. A book titled The Whore of Akron was written about him. For me, it didn't matter as much that he left, I mean, we all saw it coming, but how he actually did it. It was like a slap in the face for fans around the world. James and the Heat only made things worse when they set the bar for failure at winning fewer than seven championships. They came close to ring number one last season, but they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in six games.

     However, James' deal expires in potentially two years and at most four, and he has recently stated how interested he is in returning to Cleveland. However, it wouldn't be the magic cure-all he will need to save his legacy of the hometown hero. He hopes that if he returns the fans will welcome him, and even if they do, he will always be the guy who screwed his hometown over and tried to come back, kind of like that friend who goes to hangout with someone cooler, then comes back after a while and tries to be your friend again, long after you have moved on. No matter how many championships LeBron James would win if he returned to Cleveland, it would never be the same or have the same value compared to if he had never left. His legacy is forever scarred with the indelible stigma only a traitor, and to top it all of, a golddigger, can have.

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