Kareem: LeBron can't truly 'go home again' to 'betrayed' Cleveland
JUL 13, 2014 3:34p ET
In a column for Time magazine, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he doesn't doubt James' sincerity, and he praises LeBron's courage for returning "to what many Clevelanders might consider 'the scene of the crime.'" Abdul-Jabbar also acknowledges that having LeBron back with the Cavaliers is a good thing for the sport and admits that "I certainly will be watching."
Citing author Thomas Wolfe's novel "You Can't Go Home Again," Abdul-Jabbar says the author's intent with the title was to show that neither we nor our hometowns remain static once we leave to pursue other experiences and challenges. And while we have a tendency to view our childhood homes through rose-tinted glasses, things change while we're gone.
Or, to put it another way, Abdul-Jabbar writes:
"To some skeptical residents, LeBron's return to Cleveland is less that of the prodigal son's triumphant return home than the straying husband who abandoned his longtime partner to chase a younger, hotter, firmer slice having second thoughts. Having realized he traded a deep love for a sweaty romp, he's coming home with a bouquet of roses in one hand and a diamond bracelet in the other, begging forgiveness for his foolish mistake of lustful youth."
Again, Kareem isn't completely dismissive of LeBron's (second) decision; in some ways, he claims he identifies with James, offering up his own career as an example. Abdul-Jabbar writes in the essay that during his career, he, too, had wished to return home to New York to play basketball. Ultimately, no trade could be worked out, and Abdul-Jabbar ended up leaving Milwaukee to play for Los Angeles instead.
But the legendary center says that many Cavs fans may still have a hard time getting over the hurt feelings LeBron caused with his "tacky" first decision to leave.
"... In another way, LeBron can't go home again. At least not to the home he once knew. They may be grateful and joyful, but they are also wiser. Like the betrayed spouse, they will have to wait and see, they will have to be wooed, they will have to be convinced that his sincerity, to quote 'Porgy and Bess,' ain't a sometime thing."
Time may indeed tell whether all is truly forgiven between LeBron James and the city of Cleveland. But if The King is able to deliver a championship to the city, it's probably a safe bet to guess the fences will be completely mended.
H/t to For the Win for the story.