LeBron James Returning To Ohio Means He Does Get It

By Kareem Gantt
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Getty Images

Editor’s note: In response to Ian Van Doren’s “LeBron James Still Just Doesn’t Get It”

LeBron James‘ heralded return was seen as both triumphant for a hometown hero and as a publicity stunt to promote James’ so-called “self-serving ego.”

The former is more correct than the latter. That latter reeks of haters of James who will always find a way to nitpick at every little thing he does. That’s the exact definition of a hater — a person who is never satisfied and is envious of others.

I feel like I need to set a few things straight here. First, the “Welcome Home” rally was not planned by James. It was the doing of the city of Akron, his hometown, who put their own money and time into throwing a big bash for a city that has not seen a lot of good things happen in recent years. The rally was not a self-serving stunt by James. It was for a community to celebrate the homecoming of their most famous product.

Second, James did not “invite” the city of Akron to his homecoming. Nobody at the event paid a dime to get in, and for the record, since it was the city of Akron who put on the event, it was the city that invited James and he humbly accepted.

Third, the event was tied to his charity event, and kids received the red-carpet treatment at the event. James mentioned time and time again that the day was all about the kids and not himself. Now that hardly sounds like a self-serving person.

Look, I understand that people will hate James for any and everything, and I’m not the biggest LeBron fan in the world either. But the one thing that James is not in his current stage in life is self-serving. While LeBron was in Miami, he was still giving and holding events in his hometown. That generosity helped ease the bad feelings he created with his now infamous “Decision” in 2010.

LeBron never crossed a line with the “Homecoming” event. In fact, he already crossed the line with his decision in 2010. LeBron coming back home showed the world that he does get what he means to Northeast Ohio. If he didn’t get it, he would still be in Miami, L.A. or New York, not Cleveland.

So let’s stop lampooning this man as self-centered and full of ego. We all know that he will never be like Michael Jordan; heck, there will never be another Jordan, and he wasn’t a saint or completely loyal either. Jordan turned his back on the Chicago Bulls to play baseball and to chase his dreams at being a general manager and an owner. He also had a gambling problem early in his career, but we still praise him as the ultimate loyal player and great role model.

LeBron can only be LeBron. Sure he has made some terrible choices, but that was a version of LeBron who was still too immature to make reasonable decisions. This is an older and wiser LeBron who knows that bringing home a championship to a city that has not won anything in 50 years would do wonders to an area that consistently gets dragged in the mud.

Say what you will, but me, and most of Northeast Ohio, will tell you that LeBron does indeed “get it.”

Kareem Gantt covers the NBA for Rant Sports. For more from this author, ‘follow’ him on Twitter, ‘like’ him on Facebook, and ‘add’ him to your network on Google

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