LeBron James Goes Back to Cleveland: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
A simple letter posted to the internet.
Cleveland won big, the Rockets not so much.
That's all it was this time. No made for television special, no Jim Gray, no "taking my talents to," no dry ice unveiling where were told "not three, not four, not five..." championships.
In every way imaginable, LeBron James' announcement Friday that he would be returning to Cleveland to play for his hometown Cavaliers was the polar opposite of the manner in which he left four years ago. Gone was the immature, oblivious manchild, and in its place returned a self aware grownup, ready to go to work.
Undeniably, there were winners and losers in this whole thing. Let's take a look.
4. Dan Gilbert
Beginning with the maniacal, "jilted lover," Comic Sans-fonted scud that Gilbert launched at LeBron on the night of "The Decision" in 2010, the Cavalier franchise the last four years has been one big clown show. If I were to list all of the missteps in this space, it would take at least a week to write, just rest assured the issues were many (Also, to be clear, I'd write that week long missive in Comic Sans.). Just know that the Cavaliers wound up in the draft lottery all four years LeBron was gone, fell ass backwards into the first pick three times, and secured the world's best player because he wants his kids to grow up in Ohio. They are now favored to win the NBA title. Life isn't fair sometimes.
3. Lee Jenkins and Sports Illustrated
As we all waited around on Thursday and then Friday for the news on LeBron, I know I continually checked and refreshed the Twitter timelines of Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and USA Today's Sam Amick. Those guys are the gold standard for NBA news breakers. (I continually checked ESPN's Chris Broussard's timeline to see if sources had LeBron joining a band of traveling acrobats.) I'll admit, I had never really heard of Lee Jenkins (or if I had, I wasn't paying attention), but in doing some follow up research, this was a story he sought out and earned. I liked how LeBron executed this annoucement, and Jenkins was the architect. This whole thing was a huge win for Jenkins, and a monster victory in perception for SI, which has taken a bit of a veiled obsolence beating in recent years.
2. Skylar Grey
The coincidental timing of the popularity of her hit song with the "return home" of the world's most famous athlete are the perfect musical storm, launching Grey from "the chick that sings that 'coming home' song" to "we know her actual name" status. Now, for every athlete that ever returns to a place they previously played, we will hear this song (replacing "Home" by Daughtry and "I'm Going Home" by Phil Phillips). Hell, Grey even went and made a LeBron-specific version:
Skylar, can Houston get one of these for Trevor Ariza, please?
1. The Cleveland tourism video guys
Super happy for THESE guys! Remember those awesome Cleveland tourism videos?
Seriously, the town whose most famous citizen ONE YEAR AGO was the "dead giveaway" guy with the Buckwheat haircut who rescued those kidnapped girls now has Johnny Manziel AND LeBron James. I'd like to be happy for them but...