MIAMI FL - DECEMBER 01: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Detroit Pistons at American Airlines Arena on December 1 2010 in Miami Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
I kept thinking about how I would feel when LeBron James returned to Cleveland, this time as a member of the Miami Heat. I was angry when he left. Angry with the way he went about it. I thought 'The Decision' was the worst hour in television history, 60 minutes of self-serving, look-at-me TV disguised as a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs. I'm glad they raised a lot of money, but selling your soul to the devil, regardless of who gets the proceeds, is never the right move.
I felt today would be my day of reckoning. Today I could let all the anger simmer to the surface and let it out. When I woke up, however, I realized something. Sure, there is still plenty of animosity towards James and what he did, but there was something else. Sadness. Plenty of it. So much so that I am finding it impossible to get angry. I more want to cry than yell. It just isn't there for me to be mad.
Trust me, I am surprised by this too. But I'm not depressed because LeBron is no longer a Cavalier. Far from it. James didn't want to be a part of the Cavaliers, a part of Cleveland, he never did. No, this is a sadness about what could have been. Watch LeBron James play basketball now. He's a shell. Sure, his physical abilities will overcome anything on the court, but LeBron will never reach his full potential because an innocent love and joy he had playing the game is gone forever.. That is sad, because it didn't have to be that way.
You can see it in his body language on the court. Gone is the smile, gone are the hi-jinx before the game, the crazy intros, the dancing. It's all gone. I don't feel sorry for LeBron, not at all! Don't get the impression that I have gone soft. LeBron James is still the biggest fraud in sports, and he continues to be now - more actor than athlete. Just look at his commercials. They prove that even he has no idea what character he feels most comfortable as.
What is obvious to me, though, is it isn't Villain - something LeBron James and his Miami Heat teammates have become across the NBA.
I'm truly sorry that this post is long and winding. It's an honest window into how I am feeling right now. I know I am pissed, angry but I know I am saddened as well. LeBron James had it all and threw it away. You can almost see it on his face, a wish to go back in time and do it all over again. He went from being a partner with Dan Gilbert in building the Cavaliers to nothing more than a player. Another guy on a roster filled with stars, on a team that, as built, cannot beat the better teams in the NBA.
That's sad. Sad that LeBron James has given up everything that made him LeBron James - the fun, his game, the smile - just to get away from the pressure of playing close ot home, or of being 'The Man'.
I don't know what is going to happen tonight, and I am hoping Cleveland fans do themselves and the city proud, but for a moment, during introductions, when the boos, laughs, jeers, chants are raining down over James and the Heat I will look into his eyes and see the same thing I am feeling.
Sadness.... About what could have been.