Not too long ago NBA nation was all abuzz with excitement surrounding the King’s return to his stomping grounds. It was THE talk of the summer. It must’ve been a season filled with casting calls for the residents of Cleveland, Ohio too —as tip-off to 2014-2015 approached, it seemed as though every endorsement held by LeBron James featured commercials focusing on him once again donning a Cavalier uniform—capped off by the city’s fine citizens participating in the action.
As a matter of fact, I distinctly recall a former colleague, upon hearing of LeBron’s decision…correction, announcement—“decision” is so 2010…immediately began making plans to fly to Cleveland to attend the team’s first home game. We both concluded the atmosphere would be nothing short of electric. By the way, his account of events once he returned to the Baltimore—D.C. area indicated the word electric, quite possibly didn’t do the scenario justice.
But let’s take a few steps back….between the announcement from LeBron and the announcer calling out LeBron’s name over the public address system at Quicken Loans Arena in late October…word began to spread that a 2014 version of The Big 3 was on the horizon. All-Star Cavalier Kyrie Irving would not only join ranks with The King but fellow All-Star Kevin Love would be making his way to the city…albeit, the latter’s journey was full of smokescreens disguised as twists and turns—once word hit the street we KNEW it was happening regardless of how many press releases were being issued to the contrary.
We’d seen the old show, remember?
This old show followed the same format too….confirmation of the new Big 3 and declaration of Cleveland representing the Eastern Conference in this year’s Championships was almost simultaneous….amore was undoubtedly in the air!
And all it took for the honeymoon to come to a hard stop….was a mediocre start!
Full disclosure…after learning of LeBron’s intentions, the Cavaliers didn’t immediately jump to the top of my contenders list. On the contrary, it was another offseason move that had given me pause…Pau Gasol to the Chicago Bulls with super defender Yoakim Noah and a healthy Derrick Rose could wreak havoc on any team, in either conference. As the season has unfolded though, Rose has endured a few health related setbacks….keeping fingers crossed that those matters turns around for Derrick…as a person first, basketball player second—priorities are a wonderful thing!!
Back to the city on the southeastern shore of Lake Erie…..just as it was for the old version of the Big 3 the newer model will have to figure out the best way to make their abundance of great talent work to the advantage of the team…once they do, watch out!
If I were in Vegas would I bet on Cleveland making four straight appearances in the Finals and walking away 2-2 in the trophy department? No! But I also know better than to ever count great players like LeBron & Co. out….proving naysayers wrong is what they are built to do!!