Oh, let the great mea culpa begin. If I am reading the tea leaves correctly the Cleveland Cavaliers are about to bag the biggest free agent of them all in a coup’ de’ tat of epic proportions.
While there has not been an official announcement it appears Le Bron James is about to call Cleveland his basketball home once again. After being non-committal with Heat President Pat Riley in Vegas today, there are some subtle signs that LeBron is going to let bygones’ be bygones and return to his home town team.
If LeBron returns it will be of Prodigal Son proportions. James not only left Cleveland four years ago, but he left them in the cruelest fashion. This was not leaving a loved-one at the altar type of break-up. It was a Rory McIlroy break-up. Let’s mail the invitations, have dinner with the fam, call a presser, and then dump you while your family is watching.
As bad as LeBron looked with his media manipulated decision, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert looked just as bad. He played the jilted lover role so well. He was bitter, scorned and hurt and it showed for the whole world to see. The Cleveland fans in my opinion had every right to be PISSED. And they let the self-proclaimed King know it. They burned his jersey, they made hilarious parody Nike commercials, they dis-owned a player more than I have ever seen a player dis-owned by his home-town.
Now, with this amazing turn of events, LeBron could be returning to the scene of the break-up. Not only looking to make amends, but looking to lead the jilted lover to the promised land. How do the fans react ? How do the fans deal with this ?
We have precedent.
When Al Davis crapped on Oakland Raider fans in the early 80’s he was vilified by Raider faithful. His name was dirty language in the Bay Area. When Davis starting flirting with the Oakland again, many of those same fans were not going to be screwed over again. “A pox on you Al Davis, a pox on your team.” But, there was a core of fans that stayed faithful to Davis. Forgetting that it was the same man who had taken their beloved team away some 20 years earlier. They forgave the gangster, and welcomed him back with open arms, even at the expense of funding police officers and schools. The city of Oakland guaranteed Davis sell-outs, and even if the Raiders failed to sell the games out, the city would make up the difference. A colossal financial failing.
I expect Cleveland to welcome back James overwhelmingly. They will forgive and forget. They will cheer their favorite son wildly. They will take their tattered and torn James jersey’s that they were using to line the bottom’s of their bird cages and throw them in the washer. If they had burned their jersey’s, they will fork over another 149.99 to get another one. Why ? Because James’ return promises something greater than sports vitriol. It promises a championship. Oh yes, the magic elixir, a beautiful, wonderful, miraculous championship. If James can deliver that, then THE DECISION of five years ago will be nothing but a forgettable footnote in the return of their favorite son.