LeBron James, as told to Sports Illustrated:
Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.
Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. 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.
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.
That’s old news. Here’s the real story:
Brian Scalabrine, as told to CSN New England:
Before anyone cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid raised in Enumclaw, Washington. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I did a paper route at age six. It’s always held a special place in my heart. From the moment I signed with the Celtics, I knew this was my new home. Most of the people are just like me. They work hard, they play hard, and the passion they have for their sports team is unlike anywhere in the world. I had passion for my team just like the fans. I guess I was kind of like the fans except I had a courtside seat for free and if we were up by 20 with less than two minutes to play I would get to go into the game. Where was I – the great American city of Boston. In Boston, people’s passion can be overwhelming. But it drove me. The Celtics hadn’t won a championship since the Larry Bird era of the 80s, so I wanted to give them hope when I could. I wanted to inspire them when I could. My relationship with Boston became bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that when I left Boston in free agency four years ago. I do now.
Remember when I spurned the Celtics and signed with the Chicago Bulls in 2010? Actually I begged Ainge to keep me and he wished me the best of luck. I was thinking, “This is really tough.” I could feel it. I left something I had spent five years creating. I haven’t paid for a meal since 2008. What if all of this goes away? But if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably still have left. Chicago, for me, has always been like graduate school. I myself had always considered getting my MBA at Northwestern. These past four years helped bolster my resume to showcase the well-rounded individual I am. I’m a better player, a better coach, a better broadcaster, and a better Mamba. I’ve learned a great deal in my time spent with four franchises…actually five if you count my stint in Italy because of the lockout. What was the purpose of the lockout again? I will always think of Chicago as my third home and Oakland probably as my fourth home…but not like downtown Oakland, more like the suburbs. Without the experiences I’ve had in these places, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.
In Boston, nothing is given. Remember in the movie The Departed when Francis Costello said, “No one gives it to you. You have to take it.” That was a great scene and a great Boston movie.
I’m ready to accept the Scallenge. Boston, I’m coming home.
I can’t imagine a better way for Scalabrine, who was fired demoted by Mark Jackson as a Warriors assistant last year, to announce he’s become a Celtics analyst.
What a story!
They’re going to have to update the 30 for 30 with this latest twist in the Scalabrine saga.