When LeBron James left Cleveland to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, I distinctly remember watching the constant media coverage coming out of Miami. The newest version of an NBA “Big Three,” James, Wade, and Bosh were thrown a larger-than-life party, introducing the “Three Kings” to Miami. Who could forget the trio strutting down the catwalk, bending over, high-fiving Heat fans while pyrotechnic machines blew fire and smoke and fans screamed? The video board in the background showed a picture of the three, posing with their arms crossed, with the caption, “YES. WE. DID.” Looking back on it now, it’s comical.
When asked how it felt to be on a team with James and Bosh, Dwyane Wade went as far to say “This surpasses a dream come true. Ya know, you always wanna put yourself in the best position possible to be able to win, and having an opportunity to team up with, ya know, arguably the best trio to ever play the game of basketball is amazing.” Keep in mind, folks, this was in July–months before the three would ever touch the court together for a game that mattered, months before they lost their first game together on the road in Boston, and months before “arguably the best trio to ever play the game of basketball” lost in the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks.
When asked how it felt to be in a Heat uniform, LeBron James simply started by staying “It feels right.” He went on to say “…to be in this position, to wear this Heat uniform… Every single night, we gonna make the world know–not just this league–we gonna make the world know that the Heat is back.”
My personal favorite quote from LeBron from this little interview: “The way we’re gonna challenge each other to get better in practice, once the games start, it’s gonna be easy.”
And lastly, let’s not forget: “Not one. Not two. Not Three. Not Four. Not Five. Not Six. Not Seven…” Yeah, about that…
Fast forward to September 2014. LeBron is back in wine and gold, and at Cavalier media day, he seems to be singing quite a different tune than he sang in Miami. The Cavs now have a similar-type of “Big Three” in Cleveland (if you ask me, this Cavs team is better than the Heat team that was assembled in the summer of 2010), but the tone and approach to the season is more businesslike and far less self-entitled. A more mature LeBron James took the stage at media day in front of members from the national media and barely cracked a smile, except for when telling a story about his kids and cracking a joke about why he chose to lose weight this off season. Many people claimed LeBron seemed put off by the whole process. One reporter picked up on this and asked LeBron if he was looking forward to getting training camp rolling, insinuating that LeBron just wanted to get the media circus over with. LeBron deflected the answer, saying “No… I live in the present. Yesterday is over with, and the future is the unknown. I’ve always lived in the present… I don’t shortcut anything.”
Instead of guaranteeing multiple titles or saying things were going to be easy, LeBron preached about how difficult the road ahead would be for the Cavs:
“The challenge is every day we have to understand we can’t waste that day. We have to prepare each and every day to get better. Each and every day to each and every week, to month. If we don’t shortcut the process, we’re going to give ourselves a good chance of competing at the end of the year. But it’s going to be tough. We’re a new group that’s coming together. We have a new coaching staff, a new system for all of us. It’s not going to be easy at all. But if we’re patient and we’re patient with the process, everyone buys into coach’s system, and the coaching staff system, then it will help us out a lot.”
Instead of talking about all the talent the Cavs on their roster, he mentioned that, even at this stage in his career, he still has a lot to prove:
“I’m more patient now than I was four years ago. I understand what it takes to win a championship, and I understand it’s the hardest thing that you can ever do in your basketball career is to try to win a championship.”
I don’t think LeBron was mad, angry, or annoyed; I think he’s more mature and understands that even those who are great at what they do still have to work to achieve it. That bodes well for Cleveland fans. Hopefully, this means there’s at least one championship in our future.
Welcome home, LeBron.
If you need any reminding of how ridiculous the whole reception for LeBron, Wade, and Bosh was in Miami, you can watch an abridged version (via the Miami Herald) here. Also, all quotes from Cavalier Media Day were retrieved from Fox Sports Ohio’s website. The full transcript of the interview can be found here.
Thanks for reading. As always, Go Cavs!