Hoop Diaries with Jeremy Fitch
By Jeremy Fitch-Writer/Analyst
The beginning of the end in Miami began last July when LeBron James became an unrestricted free agent for the first time since he decided to take his talents to South Beach and join his best friend, Dwyane Wade. While in Miami, LeBron was able to capture 2 titles that he had desperately been searching for. An underrated opportunity he was granted was to learn the leadership qualities from one of the best leaders in the game today , Dwyane Wade. One thing that LeBron did not really capture in Miami was being the “King”. Anyone who knows Miami would tell you that LeBron, even though he’s the greatest player on the planet, walked into a city owned by Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade. While LeBron James will never admit this, I believe he missed being the hometown kid that everyone worshipped.
On the other side of the spectrum, we witnessed Cleveland feeling as if they had been betrayed when LeBron James decided to leave the city in the summer of 2010. Clevelanders appeared to hate him that cold Thursday night in Northeast Ohio. They showed their rage in a way that no person should ever be treated. They burned his jersey on TV, they made mash up videos of the Nike commercial and said quietness instead of witness. On top of the fans being upset, owner Dan Gilbert released a letter than should never have been released. The city of Cleveland can be thankful that James came back for the city, because he certainly did not come back for Dan Gilbert.
After James left, the team was far from marketable. Ownership and the GM at the time could not attract a big name player to come to Cleveland. Let’s be honest, this makes sense because LeBron was really the only thing to market to free agents. The team never made the playoffs with LeBron’s absence and they were at the bottom looking for lottery picks to rebuild through the draft. Off the court, referring to the economy, the city fell into shambles. We saw as business after business closed in downtown Cleveland, bars laid off employees, and the list goes on. A glimmer of hope came over the city though last summer when they realized the King could return to where he always has considered home.
Once a kid from Akron, and now a grown man, he said, "Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today." LeBron needed those four years and I believe he did some soul searching and really grew up from when he left Cleveland to where he is now. As we all could see, LeBron always had an itch to go back home to finish his career. None of us thought LeBron would be returning home so soon though. Although, with so much happening in his personal life, we could have connected the dots. His kids are getting a little older and LeBron had been public in wanting his kids to attend Saint Vincent Saint Mary’s, where he spent his high school days. He has a baby girl on the way and why wouldn’t he want her to grow up back in Akron, Ohio? Then, he looked back at the city that he had grown up being the king of and he knew what he needed to do. He posted this picture on his Instagram, clearly on a mission to capture that illusive title that the city has been the void of in any sport for 50 years.
The Cavaliers have never won a title, but here we are in June and guess who has taken Cleveland to a 2-1 series lead? Of course, who else could it possibly be, but King James. He is on the brink of one of the greatest stories in the history of sports. Hometown kid comes back home and captures a title for a city in dire need of one. The city would be like something that we as sports fans have never witnessed before. LeBron’s legacy would be at an all-new height if he accomplishes this feat.
Through the first three games of these Finals, LeBron has put up numbers that are only comparable to the Finals that Michael Jordan put together in 1998. Although, even Jordan didn’t do quite what James has put together in these Finals! LeBron has scored the most points through three games of any Finals, scoring 123. While many will just look at the points he is putting up, it is so much greater than that. LeBron is averaging 41 points through three games to go along with averaging 8.3 assists and 12 rebounds. He is almost averaging a triple double in these Finals and there is absolutely nothing the Golden State Warriors can do about it.
LeBron will not tell us what his secret motivation is just yet, but whatever it is, we are witnessing a Finals performance for the ages. There is one thing for certain this city and King James are...