Welp, it’s finally a done deal. Thank you, LeBron. Thank you for ending this ridiculous roller coaster the internet called #LeBronWatch2014. It was a fun distraction for the painful first few days after the USMNT was eliminated from the World Cup, but the story got old fast. Next time, for the record, just tell you’re going somewhere right away, then make your mind up afterwards.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 11, 2014
Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins ghost-wrote LeBron’s explanation as to what he was doing and why. It was short, smart, compelling, and illuminated a side of the man we rarely see in interviews or otherwise.
Case in point:
[SI] Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids.
It would appear that, amidst all the criticism and scrutiny, we all lost sight of LeBron’s humanity — something he clearly tries to convey in the 949 word piece that was published today at 12:30 p.m. EST. As much as we want to deify a guy with as much talent and charisma as LBJ, we can’t give him superhuman powers. He’ll always have feelings, regrets, confusion, and bitterness. He’s not perfect — which is why he ultimately forgave Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
[SI] 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?
Regardless of what this does to the rest of the NBA free agency scene (Bosh to Dallas, Melo to NY, Wade staying put), we now know that LeBron is at least aware of his fallibility.
Here’s what the 2014-15 Cavaliers starting lineup will look like:
PG – Kyrie Irving
SG – Andrew Wiggins
SF – LeBron James
PF – Tristan Thompson
C – Anderson Varejao