Why did LeBron return to Cleveland?
No offense to anybody from the City of Cleveland, but it isn’t Miami. Joakim Noah put it best when he said, “there’s nothing in Cleveland” and then added, “Every time i look out of my hotel window, it’s depressing man, it’s all factories.” Noah is right. There isn’t much in Cleveland. It is a working class city with little tourism, and is arguably the worst Sports City in America. It had been 52 years since they had a major men’s professional sports title. So why did LeBron return?
He had it great in Miami. He had Pat Riley a great GM who would do anything, and everything to ensure that LeBron had the tools to win a championship. Erik Spolestra is also, in my opinion, one of the best coaches in the league. He was able to take all of the talent he had in Miami, and find a way to turn it into team chemistry.
LeBron spent his first 7 years in Cleveland, and was only able to make it to one NBA Finals appearance. One that ended in a 4-0 sweep by the San Antonio Spurs; which, let’s be honest, that 2007 Cavaliers team has to be one of the worst teams to ever make it to the Finals.
LeBron clearly made the right choice, leaving the depressing sports town of Cleveland, for the lavish Miami, Florida. He obviously made the right choice, as he went to the finals all four years that he was in Miami, winning two. While LeBron enjoyed the limelight in Miami, a lavish American city, with one of the best nightlife’s in the world, the depressing city of Cleveland, had disappointing season, after disappointing season. Nonetheless LeBron returned last season. Why?
LeBron returned because he had unfinished business. He didn’t owe Cleveland anything. He had been giving them the show of a lifetime his whole life growing up in the State of Ohio. He had taken the team places that they never would have been if not for him. The organization had failed miserably in his first 7 years, to do exactly what Pat Riley was able to do in Miami so effortlessly.
Cleveland was able to rope in their own big 3, however, and it was enough to ensure a run at a title. We all know how last year ended for them. More disappointment. It was the second time LeBron led Cleveland to the finals, but this time it was a case of injuries, rather than a case of bad coaching, or bad management.
This year they were on a mission though. They started the playoffs 10-0, completely dominating the Eastern Conference, eventually beating the Raptors 4-2, to make it to their second straight NBA Finals (LeBron’s 6th straight).
The rematch was set. It was the Warriors vs. the Cavaliers, but this time, Cleveland had all the pieces it needed. The series didn’t start off the way they wanted it to, and down 3-1 it appeared that Cleveland’s curse could not be beaten, even by arguably the best basketball player of this generation.
It was the ‘Groin Shot Heard Around the World’ that changed everything. In game 4 Draymond hit LeBron in the groin, as LeBron attempted to step over him. It would lead to Green’s suspension, and a fired up LeBron. Compare LeBron’s numbers before the groin shot (game’s 1-4) and after (games 5-7).
Before the Groin shot:
24.7 ppg, FG% 47%, 11 rpg, 8.3 apg, 2.3 spg, 1.8 bpg
After the Groin shot:
36.3 ppg, FG% 50.1%, 11.7 rpg, 9.7 apg, 3 spg, 3 bpg
LeBron did what everyone said he couldn’t. He carried a team to the Finals, in what was, one of the greatest performances in NBA Finals history. Not only that; but the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA Finals history, to comeback from a 3-1 deficit. It is the 3rd title for Lebron, but it has to be the sweetest on of all. LeBron did what he’s wanted to do since he was just a kid: he won a title for his beloved Ohio. What happened before all of this doesn’t matter. ‘The Decision’ doesn’t matter. Lebron ended the drought.