LeBron James has gone through a fascinating emotional transformation when it comes to reflecting on his oft-criticized, nationally televised "Decision" special.
During the 2010-2011 season he apologized for the way it went down, and then during the 2011-2012 season he admitted the malice that developed toward him following the special affected how he played. Since then James has gone on to win two NBA championships and his attitude about "The Decision" has changed quite a bit.
In an interview published in the March edition of GQ, James says "The Decision" was a blessing in disguise:
"The best thing that ever happened to me," he says. "I needed it. It helped me grow as a man. As a professional, as a father. At the time, as a boyfriend. It helped me grow. Being confined, I spent my whole life in Akron, Ohio. For twenty-five years. Even though I played professionally in Cleveland, I still lived in Akron. Everything was comfortable. I knew everything, everybody knew me -- everything was comfortable. I needed to become uncomfortable.
"Now I've seen everything on and off the floor this league has to offer," he says. "I got an answer for everything. Winning, losing, being a free agent, staying, leaving, media, media down on you, media big up on you, agents, money, parking it, family, money. All, everything. So whatever your question is, I can deliver."
Perhaps James' struggles in Cleveland had something to do with how comfortable he was playing in his hometown. He grew up in nearby Akron and never left Ohio, so it is understandable that he would need a change of scenery in order to succeed.
It's hard to argue with the results, anyway -- three trips to the NBA Finals, two rings and two MVP awards.
In case you want to rewatch James' 2010 TV special, you can check it out below.