After four years in Miami where he played in four straight NBA Finals (with two NBA Titles), LeBron James is returning home to Cleveland to play with the Cavaliers.
James told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
The NBA’s premier player, however, is well aware there are big odds against the Cavaliers:
I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.
The Cavaliers made five straight playoff appearances including and reached the NBA Final in 2007 (but were swept by the San Antonio Spurs). Since King LeBron left for Miami, the Cavaliers have not had a winning season. They finished in last place in the NBA Eastern Conference’s Central Division three straight years. This past year the Cavaliers improved to third place, but had a 33-49 record finishing 23 games back of the Indiana Pacers. It might take time, but the Cavaliers have nowhere to go but up.
This has been the biggest week in Cleveland since the Indians won the 1948 World Series. First, the Republicans announced they will have their convention there and now their King has returned to his castle.
If the Cavaliers should make it to the playoffs in 2016, it could delay the convention. But that would be a good thing. If the Cavs win the NBA Final in 2016 that means happy people and happy people means Republicans visiting Cleveland will be likely to receive a far friendlier reception than I did.