LeBron James has broken the hearts of his hometown pro basketball fans once again.
The best basketball player on the planet is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers a second time — for Los Angeles, where he has just signed a $154 million deal over the next four years to play for the Lakers, a once-great team that has hit the skids in recent seasons. So help me, the amount of money simply boggles my mind.
He started his pro career playing for the Cavs. Then he bolted to Miami — after a good bit of phony melodrama — where he won a couple of NBA titles with the Heat. LeBron, who was born in nearby Akron, returned to Cleveland, where he took the Cavs to an NBA title of their own. I was impressed by his declaration that he wanted to return home, where he reportedly took a cut in pay.
I’ll give “King James” credit for this latest departure from Cleveland: At least this time he didn’t put together a TV special at the end of which he declares, “I’m taking my talents to Tinseltown.”
Darn. I was hoping LeBron James would schedule another ridiculous TV special to inform his legions of fans — of which I am not — that he would “take my talents back to Lake Erie.”
The NBA’s premier basketball player didn’t do any of that needless publicity stunt work, which he performed when he went from Cleveland to Miami. It was just a simple announcement.
Am I going to blather on about what this means for the Cavaliers and the Heat? No. I haven’t a clue. I do like to watch the occasional pro basketball game, but James’s basketball future isn’t high on my priority list. Nor do I know enough about basketball to venture a wild guess on which team benefits from this signing and why.
I do wonder about a single aspect of this decision, however.
Since James is going home to Ohio — he hails from Akron — the return to Cleveland seems oddly fitting. When he left the Cavaliers to play for the Heat, the fans back home booed the former hometown hero mercilessly whenever he touched the ball during a game in their presence.
Will the Heat fans return the favor when the Cavs venture into Miami to play the former NBA champs?
I don’t believe so. Nor do I believe they should give him grief.
The young man is returning home, he says, to finish his stellar NBA career. What can be so wrong with that? He said that the decision just felt right to him, that he always knew he’d finish his career in Cleveland.
You go for it, LeBron.
And by the way, I’m actually glad you didn’t treat us to another idiotic TV special.
Just when I thought the world had spun off its axis and that a great Latin American country had suffered from collective apoplexy over the defeat of its national soccer team, I came across this story on CNN.com.
It turns out the Brazilian soccer fans — stunned beyond their ability to comprehend — cheered the German team that beat their beloved men in the World Cup semifinal match.
The Germans won that game 7-1 in what’s being described as the most astonishing performance in the World Cup … ever! That they beat the host team in that fashion gives extra punch to the Germans now as they get ready to play the winner of The Netherlands-Argentina match for the World Cup championship.
I’ve also been wondering about this passionate love of the sport that seems to transcend anything with which I’m familiar in the U.S. of A. When the Denver Broncos lost the Super Bowl this year to the Seattle Seahawks, did the Mile High City’s fans go into the kind of collective funk that has fallen over Brazil. What happened in Miami when the Heat got blown out by the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA finals? I think folks in South Florida went about their business.
Granted, the U.S. doesn’t have a national soccer team that’s able to compete — at least not yet — on a consistent level with Brazil or Germany.
But the craziness is beyond anything I can quite grasp.
Still, I was heartened to know that despite their grief, the Brazilians had it within them to pay proper tribute to the young men who gave their guys a good, old-fashioned whuppin’.
And yes, the sun rose this morning over Brazil.