We are still over a year away from when Miami Heat forward LeBron James could be a free agent for the second time in his career, yet that’s all anyone wants to talk about in the midst of the Heat’s historic winning streak. With the 23-game streak on the line, LeBron returns to Cleveland to play the team he led for eight seasons before “The Decision.” Last year about this time, he said he wouldn’t mind returning home and playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers again one day. Now that it’s out in the open that this is a possibility as early as 2014, folks are beginning to wonder about a return to Cleveland for the self-proclaimed King.
When James was a free agent in 2010, literally half the teams in the NBA thought they had a chance to sign him and many were almost certain that he would play for them. In reality, Cleveland and Miami were really the only two teams that had a shot and now that LeBron has a ring as a part of the three musketeers with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the Heat are on this incredible winning streak and he’s likely to win his fourth MVP award in five years, James could get bored soon.
Sure, he promised “not five, not six, not seven” championships when he arrived in Miami, but at this point, LeBron probably misses the challenge of carrying a team like he did in Cleveland. After all, the Cavaliers ended up with the No. 1 overall pick the year after he left, so James proved that he was the real MVP in his last two seasons with his hometown team.
James still lives in Akron, Ohio during the offseason, so the Cleveland area remains home to him. Ever heard the story of the prodigal son? That’s James. He went away to the “evil” of what has become the 2013 Heat team, but Cleveland fans would respond the same way the prodigal son’s father did in the parable if LeBron decided to come home, especially if he brought a title to a success-starved sports city. That’s the other part of this: winning cures everything.
Before the Heat won the title last year, approximately two-thirds of polled Americans said they disliked LeBron. The day after the King won his first ring, the same poll showed almost three-fourths of Americans liked him. They can say they hate him all they want, but Cleveland fans would love James even more than they did during the 2000s if he returned home in 2014. If that happened, it’s not crazy to say the balance of the sports world would be restored.