Special Sunday Edition: Thanks for the Memories King James

Skip this post if you’re not a basketball fan. I’ll be back to my normal posts on Monday : )

I’ve had the time of my life
No, I’ve never felt this way before
Yes, I swear it’s the truth
And I owe it all to you.

Thank you, LeBron. The last four years have been undeniably aces. 

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I know I have a few fellow basketball fans out there, and today I just wanted to take a minute to reflect on LeBron James’ decision to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I was out at lunch by myself on Friday afternoon when Adam called me to deliver the news: the king is going back to Cleveland. It didn’t quite feel like a punch in the gut, but it did feel like getting shoved really hard. As silly as it sounds, I couldn’t eat another bite of my food which had just moments before arrived.

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 6.18.21 PM

The things LeBron wrote in Sports Illustrated didn’t really make me feel better or worse. I knew he wanted to finish his career in Cleveland, I just thought the departure would happen 3-5 years from now.

I guess to sum it up in one word, losing LeBron: sucks.

What do I optimistically hope comes out of this?

That basketball fans stop irrationally hating LeBron and start recognizing him for the once-in-a-generation basketball player that he is.

As a Miami fan I’ve heard people bash this extremely talented athlete for the dumbest reasons over the last four years. I have never understood how a fan of the game could not support the king.

LeBron is subjectively the most exciting player to watch in the league right now, and objectively he is the most talented player in the league.

I wasn’t old enough to appreciate Michael Jordan in his hey day, and I haven’t been on this earth long enough to truly appreciate Bill Russell’s run for 11 championships. It would have been cool to see all of that, but I am happy to witness LeBron’s greatness.

I moved to Miami in 2006.

My first time watching a basketball game, and truly enjoying it, came the night that Dwyane Wade and Shaq clinched the finals for us the very first time.

Photo: Scores Report
Photo: Scores Report

After that Miami went through a drought where D-Wade was his magnificent self, but we weren’t exactly contenders for the title. And then LeBron and Chris Bosh signed in Miami and I quite literally fell in LOVE with the game.

sdf

I don’t mean that I started cheering for Miami because we suddenly had three of the biggest, best stars in the league. That certainly helped spur it, but then I learned the fundamentals of the game, I educated myself on strategy, I explored the history of the sport and decided while it’s not football, it’s pretty damn awesome.

During the past four years I have followed the king on social media and in the local news. It’s impossible to say I know what LeBron is truly like as a man, but his public persona is certainly one that I believe deserves admiration.

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LeBron is committed to charity, he is a successful entrepreneur, he is a relentless athlete, he mentors other players during the offseason and best of all he seems like a good husband (he’s married to his high school sweetheart) and a great dad.

Photo: Savannah James
Photo: Savannah James

Watching LeBron go back to Cleveland sucks because I never really knew him as anything other than a member of the Miami Heat.

I remember, in 2010, when he made The Decision to bring his talents down here, what an exciting time that was. Adam and I sat on the couch with our fingers crossed and jumped up and down when LeBron said that famous statement about south beach.

LeBron raises money & attention for Boys & Girls Club. America starts hating him.
LeBron uses his fame to raise money & attention for Boys & Girls Club on ESPN during “The Decision” special.

I was only a casual basketball watcher then. Now, four years later, I am a loyal basketball fan.

I’m also a loyal LeBron fan because he gave us more than we could have asked for over these last four years. Four trips to the finals, two championships and lots of fun.

Champions!
Champions!

I’m glad I got to see LeBron, at the height of his career, in person and in the jersey of my home team. Going to the AAA for playoff games as a Heat fan these past four years has been a blast.

And now? 

Well, I’m extremely happy that D-Wade and UD are staying in Miami. Both of their jerseys will someday hang in the rafters at the AAA, and D-Wade is going to walk right into the Hall of Fame when he retires.

sdgf

In 2010 the county of Miami-Dade temporarily renamed itself Miami-Wade County, and even when LeBron was here this was still Miami-Wade County.

D-Wade has done enough for us that it always will be.

You know what else? I believe in Big Shot Bosh.

Adam and I have been telling people not to count out Bosh for a very long time now. We love the big man and have always defended his game, which he completely reinvented to play here.

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So, all in all, I’m disappointed that LeBron left, but just having Bosh and D-Wade makes us contenders for the Eastern Conference Title next year, and I’m sure that we’ll add even more pieces before free agency is over.

I’d love to have Ray Allen and Birdman back, and am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds over the next couple of weeks.

Down here in Miami we have a saying: “In Riley We Trust.”

in-riley-we-trust

How could you not trust a damn good President who has championship DNA in his blood?

13 comments

  1. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    It’s interesting to me, as a Clevelander, how ready to welcome LeBron back my friends and family are. I don’t believe in bandwagonning or bashing – they both seem pointless. But I also thought his letter in ESPN magazine didn’t really make sense. He basically said – I left because I was chasing championships, and I’m still chasing championships. Which, okay, that’s his goal and his dream and his career, which is GREAT! But it’s just so odd to me that people are so quick to believe that his heart never left Cleveland.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’m glad he’s going home, and it will definitely be good for Cleveland, but I wish people were more realistic about his reasons and motivations. He’s not selfless in this decision. He’s a great player, but he’s a showman, too.

    I saw an interesting note on this via one of my Cleveland friends. Someone had commented that he sounded like a woman scorned, and the reply was: too many Clevelanders sound like abused wives who swear their ex has changed and really loves them. The enthusiasm is just a little mind-boggling this early in the decision!

    #endramble #Ihavealotoffeelings lol
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    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Yes, the whole “I’m coming home” sentiment was a bit over the top for me as well. I think, very clearly, if Miami had won the championship this year he would have re-signed here for at least one more year.

      The article was a great PR piece for LBJ and completely buries the fact that going back to Cleveland is the easier choice since the Cavs have a younger, healthier core and Miami’s future is uncertain beyond 2016-ish.

      I don’t know about the woman scorned/abused wife scenario though. I don’t think Cleveland fans should have been so very upset when he left in the first place. Obviously, this is an easy thing for me to say as a Miami fan, but really I don’t think the Cavs appreciated having him back then. The front office really did very little to put pieces around LBJ to help him win. They simply put it all on LeBron’s back to get them to the finals. It was logical, for LeBron’s career, for him to leave at that point. I hardly think he was scorning the city, rather the team did not treat him right so he packed his bags and left. If anyone was the abused wife, it was LeBron.

      It sucked for Cavs fans, for sure, but they should have blamed management for not doing more to keep LeBron.

      Either way, I think in both cases LeBron has made the right decision for himself, even if the “I’m coming home/home is where the heart is” sentiment is over the top.

      I also have a lot of feelings! haha

  2. Jennifer

    Although upsetting for Miami fans, out of all the teams to go to.. glad Lebron went to Cleveland vs. any other franchise. Can you imagine the reaction if he went elsewhere?!
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    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I can’t imagine! If he had left the Heat for any other team, it would be much harder to support his decision!

  3. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    You have that Dirty Dancing song stuck in my head now 😉
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    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Haha, it’s such a good song 😀

      Adam says it was way too cheesy to use it for this post, but it was the first song that popped into my head for this situation!

  4. Amy

    I feel so old! Not only do I remember when Michael Jordan dominated the game, I also (barely) remember the whole Larry Bird/Magic Johnson rivalry. Yep, I am that old. And I have not paid attention to the NBA since I learned all the guys on the Dream Team and during my own brief basketball career in middle school. Now it is all NFL all the way!
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    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Hmmm I probably was old enough to enjoy a lot of MJs days, but I just wasn’t into basketball at the time. I did watch Space Jam 😀

      Right now I feel like I’m all NBA 24/7 but I know as soon as Dolphins start training camp in a couple weeks I’ll be all about the NFL!

  5. Kim

    I love college basketball but don’t follow pro b-ball much – I loved it when Michael Jordan played (I am that old!!!). Sorry that your team is losing a key player but, like you said, you are keeping some great players!!!
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    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Not only that, but we added a really good player this weekend too! Very exciting times in Miami! 🙂

  6. My Long Run Amused Me : ) | Kristina's Blog About Running

    […] made it through the weekend alive! LeBron took his talents away from South Beach, Adam’s mom has been in town visiting and I was so, so, so overtired from […]

  7. Helly

    I was a LeBron fan when he was in Cleveland and was part of the ones that was super bummed when he left. NOT because he left in general, hell, I understand wanting to win, but they WAY he left was just not cool. I hated the way he did it and it changed the way I felt about him and I was bummed b/c I liked him.

    I like his strategy in going back. I knew he wouldn’t go West (he’s too scared and knows he can win more in the East) so the only place I knew he would go would be back to Ohio.

    I’ve been a HUGE basketball fan from like birth. I did see MJ play on t.v. and my favorite player was/is Charles Barkley 😀
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