No, this isn’t about The Lord of the Rings… HA! Tricked ya nerds! Sports are apart of our culture and I am just as much a sports nerd as I am a movie and culture nerd. So here it is.
Luke 15: 11-32
For those less willing to pull up the online version of the New Testament, this is the passage that discusses the Parable of the Prodigal Son. To paraphrase, younger sibling wants to go out and see the world so he cashes in his stake in his family estate and sets off. He lives large for a while, then loses his money and ends up feeding pigs. He comes home to be at the mercy of his father and his father throws him a party. When the older sibling rebuffs at such a welcoming, the father says some meaningful words about his son being lost, but now found. The moral of the story is that people can make mistakes and change for the better, we shouldn’t take for granted the loved ones in our lives, and that parents will always welcome back a child no matter what.
This weekend, the city of Cleveland had a son of it’s own return. Multiple time NBA champion and MVP LeBron James. LeBron was a local talent from Akron (a small city close to Cleveland), that skipped college to play for his home town team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. He gave them numerous good years of great play and strong performances, but never delivered a title, and then promptly ‘took his talents to South Beach.’ He won two championships in four years with the Miami Heat, but now has signed a two year contract to return the the Cavs.
Growing up in North East Ohio, LeBron was a big deal for me. I came back to watching the Cavaliers BECAUSE of LeBron. He made the team relevant again. I actually met him once at a high school wrestling match his school was having against mine. He is a strong personality. He is the most physically gifted basketball player in history. Cleveland had been enjoying being one of the best teams in the NBA with LeBron, and we he left – there was literally rioting in the streets. Jerseys burned and hate spewed forth like an enormous volcano. The effect on the city was dramatic, not just with the fan base – but with the economy. The city lost approximately $150 million in revenue from Cavaliers games, and bar/restaurants closed all over the city. What was probably the most painful bullet was the news spectacle that was made of ‘The Decision”
I think most people (even Miami fans) that they ‘Big Three’ had a huge concert style announcement ceremony where they predicted they would win, “not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7” titles. Outside talent poured into Miami at a discount in order to try to win a championshp with the young superstars. More salt in the wound of the Cleveland psyche is that LeBron led his new team to resounding success. The Heat played in all four NBA finals and won two of them. But what I think shouldn’t be lost here, is over those four years, LeBron improved his game. He was already the 1st or 2nd best player in the world, but now it isn’t close. He’s number one.
I think the city of Cleveland needs a little bit of the moral from my opening parable. LeBron is clearly coming back the Cavs because he wants to play IN Cleveland. The ownership of the Cavs hadn’t given him enough talent to really succeed before, but now he is coming back to the Cavaliers team with some strong players. The Cavaliers fans should welcome LeBron back like the lost son who has come home a better man. Holding resentment isn’t going to help the team play better and I won’t help fans enjoy the experience any more. What fun is it to go to the basketball game just to boo and scream at the best player? To me, it’s just like when Urban Meyer came to coach Ohio State. I am an enormous Ohio State Buckeye’s fan, and vividly remember losing to Urban’s coached Florida Gators in the National Championship. But I recognize his is an incredible coach and now that he is ‘one of us’ I have met him with rhapsody.
Here is to hoping the Cavaliers really continue this strong style of management and that the team utilizes LeBron’s talent to its fullest effect.
How do you feel about LeBron coming back? Do you know which sport basketball is? Comment below or Tweet me at @bobholt58 !!
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