BY: KWAME FISHER-JONES
LeBron James delivered on his promise to put the City of Akron on the map and in the process the forward put the whole State of Ohio on that very same map.
Since entering the league as the first overall selection in the 2003 NBA Draft the Akron native has always delivered.
The boy who became King took the league by storm his rookie season and despite the Cleveland Cavaliers having a 35-47 record the Boy Wonder took home the Rookie of the Year award.
Most of all, the Cavaliers now mattered. For the first time in the franchise’s history, they actually mattered. His first game in the NBA was national televised, and he performed well with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds. The Cavs would lose to the Sacramento Kings 106-92, but the bright lights were already shining on James and he was ready for action.
In the seven years LeBron rocked a Cavs uniform the team had one losing season and won at least 50 games in four of those seven seasons. So it makes sense that Cavaliers owner Daniel Gilbert was a little peeved that the King took his talents to South Beach.
Now the tantrum that Gilbert threw as James exited stage left would have gotten most three year olds beaten, but given the Cavs success at being habitual losers one can understand the reaction.
Almost a thousand days have passed since the Akron native decided to bounce on the city where he grew up and the city where his professional career flourished. Now a champion James can look himself in the mirror and be so satisfied with what he sees. Despite what some would like us to believe the former Cavalier has always been a stand-up guy.
The Decision that was so detested raised over a million dollars for the Boys and Girls Club. The Cavaliers had never even played in the NBA Finals, yet alone win an NBA title, before LeBron James.
Since his departure they have failed to reach 30 wins.
Those two moves alone would be considered shrewd business moves if done by anyone else. However, today those things should no longer matter to the City of Cleveland because finally the boy who became a man under their watch is a champion.
No one should be prouder then the city that raised James.
They should be beaming with pride that one of their own is now the best in the game. The city that lied itself into believing the likes of Mark Price, Larry Nance, Hot Rod Williams, and Craig “Jordan Highlight” Ehlo were en route to being champions now has a true champion.
Sure it would have meant a hell of a lot more if it happened while James was in a Cleveland uniform, but let us all be realistic that was never going to happen.
The Cleveland Browns have never won a Super Bowl, the Cleveland Cavaliers have only played in one NBA Finals, which they were led to by James, and the Cleveland Indians have not won the World Series in over 60 years. So it is not far-fetched to believe James’ talents would have eroded without winning an NBA title had he stayed in Ohio.
Unfortunately, James did not bring the Cleveland Cavaliers a title, but he did give them everything he had and the city should respect him for that. It was time for the Akron native to leave the nest and sometimes a child may leave before a parent is ready that does not mean the child is not ready.
King James had taken his followers as far as he could and those very same followers should sit back and smile like proud fathers that their begotten son now rest atop the mountain they helped him climb.