Go ahead and play this while you read the article:

It was only 4 years ago that LeBron James made the decision 1.0. It was a choice that rocked the sports world, not just Cleveland. The 25 year old LeBron was struggling with an internal conflict: should he stay at home and continue trying to win a title, or leave for greener pastures? For 7 seasons LeBron had battled to try and bring the Cavaliers to glory. All of his attempts had failed, and the pressure was mounting. Superstars were reluctant to join LeBron James, especially in Cleveland. So, as we all know, LeBron took his talents to South Beach. In doing so he secured two NBA titles,  forever etching his name into the NBA history books.  Those titles will forever be scrutinized by the NBA faithful, especially the LeBron cynics. He had to pair with two other “Superstars” in a new city, and he only won 2 of 4 possible titles. Despite winning his first championship and bringing his game to unbelievable heights, it is likely that even LeBron felt his accomplishments were still missing something.

Now, only an athlete of LeBron’s magnitude could be criticized for winning multiple MVPs and two NBA championships. The biggest problem was that LeBron didn’t win his titles in Cleveland. His titles would never be on the same level as NBA greats such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kobe Byrant, or Michael Jordan.

As with all things in life, time is something that can allow people to reflect on their decisions. Everyone has been in this position. We make a choice and as time passes we reflect on that choice. We start to break down major choices in our lives, and we critique every little part of those decisions. I don’t think LeBron made the wrong choice in leaving Cleveland. I do think the way in which he publicized his choice was a crucial mistake. The entire spectacle of LeBron leaving for Miami was handled poorly by all parties involved. However, as we age, we become more mature and we learn from the mistakes of the past. LeBron has learned from these mistakes, and it seems his mind and body are, at least as they impact on NBA basketball, are at the absolute peak of his potential. But this is all history. Let’s get into the good stuff: The Decision 2.0.

Have you seen the new Beats commercial featuring LeBron James? If you haven’t, or even if you have seen it, watch it again https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCOgaWSfxxs. I have watched this commercial several times, and each time is better than the last. The song in the video is “Take Me To Church” by Hozier. I highly recommend you download a copy for your Ipod. This commercial represents everything that LeBron James has become. He was a poor kid from inner city Akron who was given a rare and precious gift. He had made mistakes along the way, but he has tried to rectify those mistakes.

I was as much of a LeBron critic as anyone, especially after he left for Miami. I have even written articles for this website that were aimed to show LeBron in a negative light. I have criticized his game, his work ethic, and his motivation. I still believe I was right to criticize LeBron. But that was then and this is now. Since LeBron left, his game and his mental makeup have changed. LeBron needed to leave Cleveland. If he hadn’t left for Miami, I don’t think he would be the player he is today. In leaving for Miami and in winning titles, LeBron learned what is really important to his career. He realized that he needed to make amends for his decisions and that he had unfinished business in Cleveland.

Cleveland is desperate for a sports championship. At this point it really doesn’t matter whether it is the Cavs, Browns, or Indians. The fans of this city have waited long enough. I think LeBron James understands this. He also understands what it would mean for his legacy to come back “home” and to win. In all reality a championship for LeBron in Cleveland is bigger than anything he could ever accomplish anywhere else. Let’s say LeBron actually did win eight titles in Miami like he claimed he would. Those titles couldn’t even compare to just one title in Cleveland. A championship in Cleveland means so much to this city. Cleveland is a city rebuilding its identity. We are a city that is on the rise with a new generation leading the way. Despite what the national media may think, this city has been cursed for over fifty years. There have been more memorable losses in Cleveland than in any other pro city over the last five decades. LeBron has the potential to change all of that. He has the chance to be the real King of this city.  If he can win just one championship, he will be immortalized forever in Cleveland. The tag line for his new Beats commercial is “Re-established 2014.” At the end of this season, the tag line should be “Immortalized 2015”.

Written by Rick Giavonette

Follow me on twitter @CST_RickG

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