It was just yesterday morning, I was mocking the continuous coverage by ESPN of LeBron James and his lack of a decision regarding a future playing home.
I was tired of hearing about no news as if it was new news. As of Friday morning, there was no information from James on what his decision was going to be or even when that decision was coming.
The only thing anyone knew, besides James and his family I assume, was about a trip to Brazil this weekend for the World Cup final. That’s it. Yet, ESPN (soon to change its acronym to Every Speculation Possible Noted) had wall-to-wall coverage.
For disclosure, the NBA is not a top priority in my sports viewing and watching obsessiveness, so I was getting quite annoyed with the coverage. I even flipped to NBC Sports Network to watch the Tour de France. Yes, that’s how bad it was.
But then, shortly after noon, LeBron James made his second historic “Decision.” This decision came quietly. No press conference, no single chair on a podium and no mention of his talents.
This decision was subtle and heartfelt.
This decision was made after four years of growth, both maturity-wise and professionally. With two NBA championships in four NBA finals appearances, who can argue with the result of the previous decision?
The question and the fallout of four years ago came from how it was done. The pomp and circumstance, the perceived lack of respect of his hometown and state and the teaming up with two other superstars to dominate the NBA.
I lost respect for King James. Many did.
I did not like how the situation of leaving Cleveland played out. I did not like superstars purposely teaming up to win championships. I did not like another small, midwest market pushed aside for the bright lights of cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami.
When the Big 3 of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh opted out of their Miami contracts, following the extremely pleasing championship by San Antonio (the anti-Miami), I had no guess as to where James would end up. Most likely back in Miami.
I had hoped James would change course and head home to finish his career. I did not think it would come true until hearing the news on Friday.
After reading James’ essay written for Sports Illustrated and not ESPN (there is joy in that), I have a found a new level of respect for him. I’ve always respected his ability to play the game, he is the best hands down, but now I can respect him personally.
James had the opportunity to return home and choose to do so.
He talked in his essay about growing up in Northeast Ohio and what that meant. He admitted mistakes with the “Decision.” He talked about family, about responsibility and wanting to bring a championship to Cleveland (did not guarantee one).
James sounds like a different man.
I’m sure I will be tired of the constant converge of James’ new decision, but this is a decision that everyone (outside of Miami) can respect. I know I do.