LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010 after spending the first seven seasons of his NBA career in the city he called home. The split was a messy divorce between James, Cleveland, and the entire state of Ohio. The way he announced his choice to leave made it even worse. It was made into a nationally televised event called “The Decision” and then he chose to say “I will be taking my talents to…”. How can any sports fan ever forget that? I personally found that choice of words to be arrogant and self-centered, and believe LeBron lost many fans that day. Not just in Cleveland though, but around the world and I was one of them. Fans throughout Ohio were burning his jerseys, the city was taking down murals of him, and

the owner of the Cavs even posted a nasty letter about LeBron on the internet. Over the next four seasons in Miami James would lead the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances while winning 2 of them which were back to back. After losing the 2014 NBA Finals and as a free agent once again, James had to make another huge decision. Do I stay in Miami or “take my talents” to another team?

July 11th, 2014, the day King James returned to Cleveland. This time around there were no cameras, no big media event, and no arrogant sayings. LeBron James, now a much more mature man, wrote a very heartfelt letter/announcement to all who cared to listen. I can honestly say that I’m impressed with this letter and have the utmost respect for LeBron now. I MAY even be a fan… Although he had to leave the Miami Heat (which some may say is disloyal), he ultimately returned to the place where his heart always was. Miami was essentially borrowing him from Cleveland. In the letter he recognizes the Heat team/organization and the city of

Miami and thanks them for all the memories and accomplishments they shared together and says that nothing can ever take that away from them. But my favorite part of the letter is when he says “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball”. Wow! Talk about loyalty. This guy feels so bad for the pain that he caused Northeast Ohio that he’s coming back to try and make things right. Bravo LeBron James, Bravo! He chose to go home. Not for money or guaranteed championships (which he’ll probably get anyway), but because of his relationship with the people of NE Ohio. He ultimately chose Cleveland for one reason, he cares.

5 Lessons every student-athlete must learn:

  • It’s never too late to go back and make things right. (Forgiveness)
  • Always be sure to learn from your mistakes. (Maturity)
  • Don’t be selfish! (Selflessness)
  • Make decisions based on doing the right thing, not because of popularity or rewards. (Loyalty)
  • Relationships are the most important thing in your life. (Love)

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