Hello again. We haven't heard from you for a while, four years maybe? It was in 2010 your first son, LeBron James, the Akron native, bounced town after seven seasons. The homegrown son -- the former first overall pick -- left after six All-Star seasons and your only Eastern Conference Championship. He left not because the money was better, but so he could play in South Beach with two other superstars.
LeBron handled his first year in Miami abysmally. He aired "The Decision," predicted eight Heat titles and agreed to do this arrogant Nike commercial:
NEW LeBron James Commercial for Nike MUST SEE!!! by ypena02
Kudos to the guy who mashed up an old Jordan Brand ad:
LeBron lost in the Finals in his first year in Miami, and at the time, I thought it humbled him. He came back with more focus and became a better teammate. He won two straight titles and a second Olympic gold medal from 2011-2013. He did commercials with his family. LeBron appeared to grow up.
After opting out of his contract, LeBron is a free agent again. A week ago, it looked like he was not flinching anywhere but Miami (for the record, I still think he ends up in Miami). Then, all of a sudden Cleveland came back into the fold. I did not believe it at first, but two incidents make this seem real. Chris Broussard's sources:
Cleveland has replaced Miami as my frontrunner to land LeBron James...
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) July 7, 2014
And Dan Gilbert kept the best letter known to mankind, his classic Comic Sans trashing of LeBron, on the Cavalier website -- until Monday. Click on the letter to read a larger view of it.
Shame on you, Dan. That is what I want to get at here. Cleveland, don't let LeBron off the hook. Don't salivate over him right now. Don't tweet at him to come back.
And if he does come back, please do not embrace him. If he does come back, so much of me hopes you stick to your guns and give him a hard time earning your respect back. Play hardball.
When he actually won, with Dwyane Wade's knees and a supporting cast that relied on Mike Miller, I respected LeBron. In four years, the Heat made the NBA Finals four times, despite having the best regular-season record in the Eastern Conference once. The 2010-2014 Heat certainly rank among the best teams in NBA history, but they never became the most dominant team ever, as many people expected.
But let's not stray from the facts. LeBron ditched his hometown city, which threw its kidney, liver and heart at LeBron for seven seasons. He joined forces with the likes of Pat Riley, Micky Arison and fair-weather Heat fans for a super team. He took arguably the four years at the peak of his prime and brought it to another city.
Now, he may want back in to Cleveland. With two titles under his belt, he may want to come back to the Buckeye State. He may want to play in front of his hometown fans for the team he ruled for nearly a decade.
But also the team he left in the dust.
We are in a critical time for the NBA. This offseason, courtesy of the usual suspects, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Wade, NBA free agency is a circus. Pau Gasol is also in the mix. Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Joel Embiid and Kevin Love aren't free agents but have influence on the conversation.
Cleveland, you are our hope. You can fend off a bit of the super team culture. LeBron wants to come to Cleveland. After turning his shoulder four years ago, now, he wants to build a contender in his old stomping grounds.
Do not accept this, Cleveland. Be the strong city we know you can be. You have three of the past four No. 1 overall draft picks, notably Kyrie Irving locked up. Run with that.
With all due respect, you have spent your lives with the Indians and the Browns. Your last title came in 1964. If you can go through that, you can handle stiff-arming LeBron.
I wish you the best of luck being #ClevelandStrong. Never forget #LeFraud.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.
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