I'm an Akron guy and LeBron is an Akron guy. My job is to write about the NBA. LeBron's job is to play in the NBA. The
Heat list him at 6-foot-8. I have my friends convinced I'm taller than 5-foot-8.
Basically, LeBron and I have a lot in common. My opinion should carry some weight.
Now, before I get into why I think James should leave the Heat, let me make a few things clear:
First, it has nothing to do with the fact my job is to cover the NBA with an emphasis on the Cavaliers. (OK, it only has a LITTLE to do with that.)
Secondly, while I like to see the players and people I write about do especially well, I really dislike no one. I root for all teams and athletes about the same -- with the exception of the Pittsburgh Steelers and
As a Northeast Ohio native, it would be against the law for me to openly cheer for the Steelers. Honest. Most people who do root for the Steelers in this part of the country are often left wondering why, considering they can't even name the starting left tackle while being hauled off to jail.
And as a fan of everything that's right with the NBA, Wade just irritates me. He was OK before James got to
Miami. But since 2010, Wade has been a whiner and a flopper, a guy who can't seem to grasp why most humans with a soul root against him.
But the reason LeBron should return to the Cavs, again, has nothing to do with the Steelers or Wade. Again, it has nothing to do with me.
I feel the need to really stress that second point because a lot of folks seem to think that, because I cover the Cavs, I work for the Cavs. That couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I guarantee that had I ever been a Cavs employee, I would've been fired five or six years ago and would now be writing about things such as rainbows or unicorns or why Justin Bieber is a has-been who's lost touch with his audience.
Do I want the Cavs to win? Yes. Do I want the Los Angeles Lakers to win? Sure. Do I want the Heat to win? Probably not, but they'd come a lot closer to winning me over if they got rid of Wade.
Anyway, back to LeBron.
I live in Akron. I grew up rooting for the Cavs. He left my city in a fairly classless way, kicking Cleveland in the crotch on a national television show on his way out of town.
I'm not supposed to like him.
But without actually saying the word "sorry," James has expressed regret. He has indicated he would've handled it differently if he could do it again. Even if that only meant he wouldn't talk to or sit near Jim Gray … well, I can accept that as a complete apology.
Mostly, James is just more mature now. And thank heavens some of the stuff I did in my early 20s wasn't on national TV. So when it comes to the Decision Show, whatever. I'm (mostly) over it.
Fit for a king
So why should LeBron James come back to the Cavs when he can opt of out of his Heat contract in the summer of 2014?
He should do it for no other reason than LeBron James.
Granted, the Cavs haven't been very good or overly stable since he left. They've finished last in the Central Division three straight years. They changed head coaches (from Mike Brown to Byron Scott and back to Brown again), and have given the basketball world everyone from Samardo Samuels to Luke Harangody to the wrong Pargo brother. Heck, Cavs fans even had to spend four or five games pretending to be excited about Lester Hudson.
Nor is Cleveland's winter weather very good. Nor could LeBron avoid paying state taxes like he does in Florida. Nor will free agents flock here like it's an all-expense-paid vacation to the Cayman Islands. Or, for that matter, to Miami.
But James will be 29 years old next month. Wade turns a very old 32 in January. And by early February, Heat forward
Chris Bosh will no longer be in the same league as Cavs center Andrew Bynum.
Along with Bynum, the Cavs also possess an All-Star point guard in Kyrie Irving. When James can become a free agent, Irving will only be 22.
"Obviously, I'll still be a young guy," Irving said last season, when asked about the possibility of a James' return.
Imagine James on the wing, running next to Irving at the point -- for the next seven years. Imagine Bynum being mostly healthy on the low block during that same span.
LeBron has never played with a better point guard or center. That's true even if Bynum is never healthier than he is today. But he will be. Besides, a banged-up Bynum is still considerably more of a force than, say, a vigorous
So think about it, LeBron. This is your home. This is the team to which you may (definitely) owe a little something. This is where you can finish the job of refining your image. In fact, returning to Cleveland while still in your prime would make you the most heartwarming story in NBA history.
You may even win another title or two.
And in case all that is not enough, and it may not be, there's one other major factor to consider:
Some NBA writer from Akron with no influence and probably less repute thinks it would be a fantastic career move.