July 8th, 2010. I was 10 at the time of the decision. My birthday would be a couple weeks later on the 22nd of July. At the time I didn’t totally understand it. I wasn’t really into basketball at the time. I was going through my nerdy, super hero obsession kid faze. I didnt know many things about basketball. I knew about the Lakers. With my father and the majority of my brother loving Kobe and whoever was on his team it would seem that I’d fall right in line. We all could relate to Kobe a little bit, right? Black man in american, looked up to the concensus greatest to ever played and replicated a ton of his moves. He achieved a lot of the same greatness Mj, his idol, did. Isn’t that what we want In some sort of way? To be just like our idols/mentors until we find ourselves in the replication process. However back to the story. I only knew few things about basketball at the time. I knew about Kobe, I knew about the Spurs and Celtics. That was about it. Besides one more thing. Lebron james. I loved Lebron. He was my favorite. I loved watching him play, I loved hearing people compare him to greats, I loved how he carried himself. I loved Lebron. I use to wish he could be my brother, and at times where I felt like quitting he’d come and talk me into keep going. We all could relate to Lebron right? Young kid from the ghetto, no father figure but somehow figured it out. I mean, how could you hate Lebron?
Reflecting on the decision seems almost like a blur now. I think I was at my grandparents house at the time. Watching all the coverage before. Seeing Chris Broussard talk about all his sources saying which team he felt had the best chance of getting him. Looking back I wish I had a Twitter at the time to see everyone mocking him.
I don’t remember watching him say he’d had decided to take his talents to south beach. I remember the feeling after hearing about it tho. The feeling I felt as they talked about the decision and why he made it. Part it made me support it. “He had no help” “He didn’t want to have to carry the team” “He wouldn’t be able to win a ring with scrubs like those.” I supported him on that. But the other side made me want to rip apart the dreams of him being my bigger brother. “He’s a coward.” “He can’t do it himself, he needs other superstars” “He left and betrayed his homes team.” I didn’t know how to feel about it. Throughout that year I’d continue to feel conflicted about the man I once looked up to and admired most. I’d hear about how the Heat had a terrible start. About how Dwade and Bron couldn’t coexist. About how the Bulls and their new young star Derrick Rose were on their way to conquering the Eastern Confrence. About how Lebron lost his spot at top of the league. (To Derrick Rose) The they were clicking. And eventually fought their way to the NBA Finals after defeating the young and coming Chicago Bulls. (Side note: It’s pains me that Derrick Rose has been out. The basketball world needs him) But, at last it all ended. 6 games. To Dirk’s Mavericks.
I wasn’t heart broken, but, I didn’t feel right. Rooting for the man who I had admired for so long to lose? I felt like the trader. I felt like the unloyal one. Not Lebron.
Now we’re here. July 21st 2014. Lebron chose to go back to home, back to Cleveland 11 days ago. And I asked myself this morning, a day before my 15th birthday, should we be the forgiving…Or the forgiven? They burned his jerseys. Mocked him. Ridiculed him. Could I go back after all that?
Lebron has obviously changed. Personally and on the court. A better shooter, more efficient. Smarter due to the experience. Is HE ready? Ready to face to criticism if he never wins Cleveland a championship. Is he ready for the demand of another if he does win one for Cleveland?
And though I won’t be rooting for the Cavs, for my favorite teams are The Washington Wizards, and Portland Trail Blazers. And I might not be rooting for Lebron to win the Mvp, for my favorite players are Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Derrick Rose. But I will be rooting for my younger childhood hero in my heart of hearts. The man who I felt accepted by. The man whom I looked up to on and off the court. The man who pushed me to keep going when I though I couldn’t. And though I have too much pride to leave my teams I already promised my alliance to through thick and thin, I wouldn’t be too disappointed if the Cavs won the NBA championship anytime soon..