When LeBron James dropped his famous ‘letter’, announcing his return to Cleveland, he set out his targets for his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He left in 2010 for the Miami Heat. However, in 2014 he made his return. After back-to-back NBA Finals disappointments for the Cavs, he still only has two titles, both of which he won in Miami. Whether he wins it all for the city they call “The Land” or not, whether he walks away this summer, he has fulfilled his promise. He has made his city, and its NBA franchise relevant again. His letter has been served.
In his letter LeBron announced that he’s happy with his career regardless of his Cleveland success, saying, “I’ve exceeded expectations in my life. I’m a statistic that was supposed to go the other way, growing up in the inner city, having a single-parent household. It was just me and my mother. So everything I’ve done has been a success.”
However, he also insisted, “But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio. In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
He came home. His two-year span led to great seasons, both of which the Cavs were relevant and in contention. As long he remains a Cavalier, however, whether he brings the city a title, it doesn’t matter. He came home. He restored their pride. And he made amends for the hearts his departure broke.
Flash forward to today, although the expectations are the same, the pressure is enormous. Many feel he “has to win”, but does he? His Cavs are still a favorite in this month’s sports betting for the title this season, and next.
He recently admitted, “I’m not happy, but I’m OK with it because I know I’ve given all I’ve got. I’ve been blessed enough to be a part of seven finals and hopefully I’ll be blessed enough to play in many more even after this year.”
The 31-year-old is still a superstar in his own right, however, bringing a title to Cleveland has proved more difficult than anyone envisioned. This is largely because of the sensational Golden State Warriors.
He made the Cavs great again. The Warriors are just greater. Without their legacy we’d be looking at back-to-back titles for the city. He delivered, even without a title. The great man just couldn’t topple the greatest team of all-time.
LeBron was — and is — a sensational player. He repaired the damage and friction he caused for the Cavs, and he made the city and its basketball relevant again. With or without a title, he did his bit. That’s not to say it won’t come. He still has time, and although he’s ageing, maybe he will fulfill his returning letter.
Then again, maybe he won’t. He set out his intentions, and if he leaves Cleveland or retires as a man without a Cavs title, he should still be remembered as a hero. He has fulfilled every promise and should forever be loved by that.
Knowing the ‘King’, LeBron won’t give up his mission to deliver a title to “The Land”, however, whatever the end result, he’s secured his letter legacy forever for Miami, Cleveland and the NBA.
Will he get a title to Cleveland?