Just like that — he’s gone. He’s going home.
LeBron James is taking his talents back to Cleveland. What a shame, for us, Miami. But how we react in the next few hours and days will be crucial to our image across the country.
Heaven knows, we picked on Cleveland when they lost LeBron four years ago after The Decision: What a bunch of whiners; what an ungraceful team owner Dan Gilbert was with his hurtful letter, we said.
Should we act like jilted lovers, be resentful, say all sorts of terrible things about LeBron, call him disloyal, a traitor? Should we criticize him that he made his announcement in a touching letter in Sports Illustrated, rather than looking us in the eye at a news conference in Miami?
No, we’re better than that.
We can take the high road and thank LeBron for the wonderful ride. What fun we had when he was rolling with the Miami Heat as our King James. Our first championship with The Big Three, then the second. Sweet.
At times, we gave LeBron a hard time. Remember this joke after the Heat lost an NBA championship and LeBron took criticism for “disappearing” in the fourth quarter? “Give LeBron a dollar and he’ll give you three quarters.”
By his final NBA champonship, he had matured as a leader and proved doubters wrong.
It’s going to hurt to lose LeBron, financially and emotionally, and just for fun’s sake. The Miami Heat will have to rebuild as this marks the end of the Big Three era, Miami will lose some cachet and downtown’s economy will take a hit.
But by the end of our relationship with LeBron, he was giving us a dollar for a dollar.
On Friday, Heat owner Micky Arison tweeted a goodbye to his most famous player ever:
“I’m shocked and disappointed in today’s news. However, I will never forget what LeBron brought us for four years. Thanks for the memories.”
Thank you, LeBron.