LeBron’s original exit from his home state and the overwhelming reaction from the fans and citizens of the area has been revisited since he chose to opt out and head to LA.
However, outsiders never bothered to learn what prompted the initial revolt. Had the experts researched before they “reported” on that story, then they would have understood why the people of Ohio were hurt back then and it would also help them to glean an understanding as to why the majority are not hurt now.
It was not about championships or rings to them. No. For them, the working class of Cleveland it was about a once-thriving community that dealt with month after month of job losses and a local economy in a virtual free fall.
The only jobs that were safe in the region were the service jobs that were tied to the arena that James dominated. The “Lebron Economy” was a known thing and most importantly King James knew. James promised the people who had supported him since his lil buddy ball days that he would never just ditch them and screw them over in the ways that other guys had done in other cities during free agency.
But, he did just that not even a year later. The first decision was on TV instead of having the courtesy to do it at home. Personally, it was salt in the wound. He knew what would happen. The jobs left with him. Once hustling and bustling Cleveland became a ghost town.
The former King went from hometown hero to villain. You couldn’t say his name in the Buckeye State for years without garnering an eye-roll at the very least. The people weren’t just mad, they were hurt and broken. It wasn’t anger they were shunning him out of. It was pain. He nursed wounds of his own making to the best of his ability in the place that he had taken his talents, but he wasn’t a bad guy no matter how hard he attempted to play the role.
Incredibly, with some time passing, cooler heads prevailed on both sides. Hearts softened and something changed. People were once again throwing kisses at James in place of the insults and rocks they’d begun hurling upon his departure. He missed home and his home state missed him back.
He wrote a love letter to the people of North East Ohio informing them he was on his way home and the embrace he got was nothing short of remarkable. Bron emerged wiser, kinder and less arrogant. His beautiful wife and family were all doted on as well. LeBron left a big boy but returned a grown man with a plan to help the people of his beloved Ohio in ways that were more meaningful than any championship could ever be. He began philanthropic endeavors that will live on for the foreseeable future. He created scholarships and opportunities where they hadn’t existed before. He took the Teach A Man To Fish parable and freaked the hell out of it. And it paid off. Jobs began to return. People began to emerge and the City of Cleveland is on its way back. LeBron played a part in that. He should feel the pride in himself that the people feel in him for it.
His huge championship win in which he decried into the cameras that he had done it for them…was awe inspiring. For them and for all who witnessed it. It was clear that the love was real on both sides.
So, while it’s with a heavy heart that they once again bid him adieu, they get it. They watched him ink a deal to play in the land of La La and while they’ll miss him they know it’s what he needs to do now for him. He made good on his promises to them. They know he’s proud of them and proud to be from there. He’s not saying goodbye forever. Its more like so long for now.
He’ll be back to see them and to check in from time to time to say, “Hey!”. How can they be so sure?
According to News 5 Cleveland, he is opening up a school this month that will be available not just for the privileged and affluent but for the at-risk youth from his home state. He’s been extremely hands-on with the project and has touted this school to be one of his greatest accomplishments ever. He gets that it will outlive his days of basketball. In fact, it will play a role in providing a future for the people of his city for generations to come.
So, to the critics who felt the need to trash Cleveland fans and Citizens of North East Ohio, it’s time to accept that you were wrong. Let this note from the city tell you everything you need to know. He is them and they are him. No matter where life may have him traveling to next…they are one. The prodigal son did well. They love him for it. Now and forever.