I've been getting that question all weekend. I stated numerous times that I would never forget how LeBron had screwed over his home town team. That LeBron had a very rare opportunity. To play for the team that he and his friends grew up cheering for, and to actually make them a championship team. His fans said he had to leave to win rings in order to solidify his legacy. I said the best kind of legacy would be helping to revive Ohio which has had a rough go the past 40 years or so. I only lived in Cleveland for 1 year back in 1987, but those people made an impact on me by how much they love their city and their state and are desperate for something good to happen. I didn't care if LeBron won 20 rings with Miami, he would always be a bum for abandoning Cleveland.
But now he is back. And yes I forgive him. He has proven himself to be a man who understands his unique responsibilities. Very few people have ever been as gifted at anything to the level LeBron is gifted at basketball. Rather than use those gifts completely to chase his own glory, he now recognizes that he can help a city and a region of our country that needs it. The Cavaliers will be able to employ lots more people because of the revenue that will be coming to them from TV rights, jersey sales etc. The hotels and restaurants around Cleveland will notice a significant uptick in business around home games. And while there are no guarantees that a championship is forth coming, if they win one, the citizens will bask in a sense of pride that their city is home to a national champion.
LeBron's exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated on Friday reveals that he recognizes why people like me were upset with him. He also is big enough to forgive the people who took their anger against him too far. People like the Cavs fans who burned his jersey and the owner, Dan Gilbert, who wrote a vitriol filled public letter to James the day after he announced he was "taking his talents to South Beach".
"What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?
LeBron goes on to make a plea to other people of the region to bring their talents back rather than running for Chicago, NY or some other far off city. "My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get".