Its official. Lebron James has decided to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. The move ends James’ second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years, four straight NBA Finals appearances and a long awaited championship.
I know that many fans across Ohio and other places around the nation and the globe are upset that James left Cleveland again. But, he did everything that he said he was going to do when he chose to return to northern Ohio four years ago.
James dedicated his professional and much of his personal life to ensuring that the citizens of Akron and Cleveland were taken care of. Lebron also helped to propel the Cavaliers franchise to heights where only teams like the Boston Celtics and Lakers have been as he led Cleveland to four straight Finals appearances and a place in the collective American consciousness.
The decision to leave Cleveland for the second time in his illustrious career could not have been an easy one. The Cavaliers have done all in their power to keep James happy and the franchise competitive with the best teams in the NBA. Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert has footed the bill over that time in an effort to ensure that James was happy and general managers David Griffin and Koby Altman have signed players and engineered massive roster overhauls, sometimes mid-season, to see that James was surrounded by the necessary talent.
Despite all of that, Lebron chose to leave again.
Well, the only thing that I can really say to Lebron James is thank you. Thank you for coming back to Cleveland and leading the team to a championship. Thank you for being the bigger man and swallowing your pride, after Gilbert’s public letter when you went to Miami, and finishing what you started in a Cavaliers’ uniform. Thank you for showing the millions of people that inhabit the great state of Ohio that people from here can make a difference.
Lastly Lebron, thank you for providing me with countless hours of entertainment and joy. You play the game unselfishly and I think you represent some of the finest qualities of the game that I love. You have the opportunity to go down as one of the best to ever have played the game and I am lucky to have the opportunity to watch you play.
With all of that being said, how could you choose the Lakers? The evil empire that has hoarded talent and championships almost on the same level as the Celtics that you have battled relentlessly over the course of your career. Los Angeles, where they have signed and/or traded for countless superstars like George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.
If you wanted to be in Los Angeles fine, sign with the Clippers and add another layer to the mystique you have created in Cleveland and Miami. By signing with the Lakers you have essentially given up establishing your own undeniable legacy and begun to burnish the longstanding Lakers’ legacy.
As long as you are in Los Angeles it will not be about what Lebron was able to accomplish, it will simply be another addition to the robust history that is the Lakers. The spotlight will still be on you, Lebron, but never as bright as the one you should have because now history will reflect another in a long line of victories for the Lakers instead of the triumph of a King.
Reach Ryan Applegate at 937-402-2572, or on Twitter @RCApplegate89.