In My Opinion

Fabiola Santiago: LeBron, thanks for the memories and we wish you a happily ever after

W ell I’ve never been to Akron, but I know it isn’t heaven.

Say the fans are insane there, and they sure know how to show it.

They will abuse you.

You’re gonna lose it.

Adiós, LeBron.

You arrived ravenous — for the game, for the party, for the rings.

You delivered great basketball, becoming the closest thing we have to monarchy.

Thank you for four great years: two NBA championships, four Finals — and, more valuable than winning, the community-building. You delivered spirited, classy games that united us.

“I’m coming home,” you now say to Ohio.

We’re wiping the tears, but, in our hearts, we get the move.

If anyone should understand your decision to go home, it’s us, big man.

Miamians understand the emotional pull of roots.

This is a city of people who straddle different worlds, different languages, different cultures — whether the place we hail from is Ohio, Camagüey, or Manaus.

We understand the tug of war with family on the winning end, clutching your history and your piece of childhood terrain.

We understand your predicament. Our affection for our birthplace is often in conflict with the interests of our adopted home, sort of like a parent caught between the disparate needs and wants of two of her children.

Lucky for you, there’s a return.

Looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers have forgiven your wanderlust, King James. And if you’re headed back, it’s safe to assume you have forgiven the viciousness with which Cavalier fans and owner Dan Gilbert treated you when you left.

Others’ losses are Miami’s gain; it’s in our DNA.

From Ohio to Miami: our founding mother, Julia Tuttle; my favorite teacher, Mrs. Sipe; and you, LeBron James.

I don’t know if this means anything, but you’re the only one who wants to go back.

Still, we wish you a happily ever after.

Thank you for the sportsmanship you showed on the court. I would’ve whacked that guy for blowing in my ear during the Eastern Conference finals just like I slapped in middle school the boy who messed with my friend. But I appreciate your role-model restraint on behalf of parents refereeing childhoods.

Thank you for your philanthropy, spot on where it was needed — with our youth. And thank you, especially, for this last run, when in hindsight, it was in the cards that the end of The Dream Team was near.

For the record, I think the Spurs deserved to win — if only to give the Miami fans who booed their three-time winning NBA team a reality check on life. Grown-ups should know it’s not the win that matters.

In my humble book, you leave on the heels of a team loss but a personal high.

So long, champ. Thanks for the memories. I hadn’t thought of Three Dog Night in years, but after I heard you were leaving Miami, I couldn’t get the song out of my head.

Well I’ve never been to Cleveland, but I’ve been to Varadero.

Well they tell me I was born there, but I really don’t remember.

On to Ohio, no more Flori-duh.

What does it matter? What does it matter?

Adiós, LeBron.

Read more Fabiola Santiago stories from the Miami Herald

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