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."
But the former Bucks and Lakers legend also says some people might find James’ reasoning for going back "disingenuous and self-serving."
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.
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.
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.