Two days before LeBron James announced he’d sign with the Cavaliers in 2014, a report emerged that his entire inner circle wanted him to return to Cleveland.
If that were true, it apparently took some convincing.
LeBron, via ESPN:
When I decided to go back to Cleveland, I had to decide – because our owner at the time when I left decided to put out this f—ing article that we all know about, where he completely bashed me and disrespected, not only me as an individual, but disrespected my name. And my name is not just myself. It’s my wife. It’s my kids, my grandfather. You know what I’m saying? My mother, so many more people.
So for me, when I decided to go back, and I talked to Mav, Rich and Randy and everybody, and I had to let them know cause some people was on the fence. Even my wife was like – my momma and my wife was like, “F— that. I ain’t with that.” My mom was definitely like, “F— that. We ain’t going back.”
And for me, it was more, I had to finally just be like, “You know what, mom? It ain’t really about that. Me going back is more of this. It’s more of a bigger picture, and it’s more of a all these kids, all these people that need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I’m that way out.” So, I had to be like – as much as my mom means everything to me, and my wife means everything to me, my kids.
My mom, she was so like, “Listen, you go back. I ain’t going back with you.” She was like, “I’m staying in Miami or I’m going somewhere else. You send me somewhere else.”
I had to be like, “Let’s not worry about the small s—. Let’s worry about us trying to build something that’s bigger than our name.”
It still stuns me LeBron and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert put aside their issues, but it’s to their credit. LeBron got an owner willing to spend, and Gilbert got the best player in the world back on his team. Their arrangement produced a championship, and back in Cleveland, LeBron has made an incredible impact in the community.
I do wonder whether LeBron’s wife and mother, Savannah James and Gloria James, have changed their attitudes or whether they and LeBron are just adults who’ve agreed to disagree and have moved forward without deeply personal public attacks.