Tim Balk may not be captivated by LeReturn, but I’m here to say that it’s a story worthy of captivation.
Let’s go back to the evening of July 8th, 2010. It was one of those seminal moments where you’ll always remember where you were. I was lying down on my living room floor, staring up at the TV. ESPN blared on the screen as I looked blankly at my surroundings, shocked by what had just occurred. LeBron James was forming a super team in South Beach along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. My Knicks hat, which I had been wearing for good luck in the hopes that LBJ would bring his talents to MSG, was discarded, as my head was too full of thoughts of the Heat domination of the rest of the league for me to don it.
Four years later, I was again lying in my living room, ESPN murmurings in the background, when I heard the news of LeBron’s return. In the same way LeBron handled his free agency completely differently this time around, I reacted in the opposite manner as I had four years prior. The level of desolation I had felt in 2010 was matched by the level of excitement I felt in 2014. I leapt to my keyboard, reading LeBron’s letter about as fast as I could. It wasn’t just a matter of the best player in the game moving teams, it was a matter of the best player I’ve ever witnessed fulfilling a terrific narrative.
The romance of the story is unquestionable. The shunned prodigal son returns home, forgiven for his past sins, in exchange for optimism. LeBron’s image in Cleveland rising out of the ashes of burnt jerseys, giving the people of Ohio the opportunity to witness one of the best players in NBA history perfecting his craft, making his young teammates realize their full potential. As nasty as his return to Cleveland after The Decision was, I can’t wait for the Cavs home opener. I’ll be watching with a box of tissues handy, hopefully wearing a maroon and gold Cavs jersey with #6 emblazoned on the back. It’s not a matter of being a Cavs fan, or even a basketball fan. If you enjoy the basic narratives which have run throughout the course of human history, you can enjoy LeBron’s return. This IS more than basketball. I’m waxing poetic about a transaction. This is the beauty of sports.