For some around the country, the LeBron James homecoming story has played out a little. At least for now, for the grind of the regular season, it will be back for the playoffs. We know that returning to Cleveland/Akron meant a lot to him and it was part of the reason he went back, but there were other reasons as well — a younger, better supporting cast on the court, and also he and his friends/managers have far more power in the organization in Cleveland (it’s Pat Riley’s show in Miami). But it’s the homecoming angle that sells.
And nowhere does it sell like Cleveland. A city that has seen industry change and move out, people move out, and had its sports teams and stars break its heart over and over again.
That’s been written about a lot, but nobody does it as well as NBC’s own Joe Posnanski.
He was at opening night at the Q — the anticlimactic loss to the Knicks — and wrote about Cleveland, hope and forgiveness for NBC’s Sports World site (where you can get a lot of Joe, more long form and video features).
The story of LeBron James’ return will not be written on one game or one week or one month or even six months. Thursday’s appalling letdown game meant no more and no less than Friday’s overtime victory at Chicago, when an inspired James led Cleveland past the one team in the East with the best shot to block the Cavaliers path to glory.
It meant nothing – that’s often the overriding sentiment in the moments after anything. I email my friend Scott Raab, Clevelander, writer, optimist, pessimist, author of the aptly named “The Whore of Akron” about James. He had brought his son to the game. He had cried during the Nike commercial.
He wrote: “Looking back — and I’ve said and written this a thousand times — it was never fair for Cleveland fans, including me, to expect one athlete, however brilliant, to redeem Northeast Ohio’s suffering. Now, the whole effing planet is expecting him to do just that.”
And his very next sentence: “I think Kyrie and LeBron will make beautiful music together.”
Do yourself a favor, go read the entire story. We all want to write like Posnanski.