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Hey Cleveland, Savor LeBron’s Greatness

LeBron+James+brought+Cleveland+its+first+championship+in+54+years+in+an+emotional+comeback+over+the+Golden+State+Warriors+in+2016.++
LeBron James brought Cleveland its first championship in 54 years in an emotional comeback over the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

LeBron James brought Cleveland its first championship in 54 years in an emotional comeback over the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

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LeBron James brought Cleveland its first championship in 54 years in an emotional comeback over the Golden State Warriors in 2016.

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Dear Clevelanders,

LeBron James is our athlete. He grew up 38.8 miles away from the the Quicken Loans Arena. He’s ruled this basketball kingdom since he was 19 years old, excluding the four-year span when he broke our hearts with his decision to “take [his] talents to South Beach.”

Before James left for Miami, Cavs fans were accustomed to being championship contenders every season and enjoyed annual playoff appearances. His star power and athleticism energized the city, but when he left, that energy left with him.

Without LeBron, the Cavaliers sank into a losing abyss. With the Browns and Indians struggling, Cleveland fell off of the professional sports map. We bitterly watched LeBron win two championships in Miami. But, with James’ return to The Land, the wounds were quickly mended.

James brought us our first professional championship in 54 years, and he didn’t just win the title; he won it in historic fashion. He brought his team back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA finals — an unprecedented feat — to defeat the Golden State Warriors — the best regular season NBA team ever — and Stephen Curry, back-to-back MVP and possibly the greatest three-point shooter of all time.

James not only carried his team, but the weight of a city’s hope to end their championship drought.  

After 10 seasons, The King finally delivered.

However, LeBron did not do it without criticism. There will always be the Skip Baylesses of the world, the ones who insist that he will never be as great as Michael Jordan, who ridicule his free throw shooting and doubt his performance in clutch moments.

James is not perfect. He shot 67.4 percent from the free throw line this season, below league average. It took him nine seasons to win his first championship.

In the 2011 NBA Finals, James mentally collapsed in his loss to an underdog Dallas Mavericks squad. He played well below his standards in that six-game series, allowing critics to call him a choker and a player that couldn’t perform at a high level when the lights were brightest.

Yet, James certainly elevated his game in last year’s finals. The most pressure was on James when him and the Cavs fell behind 3-1 in the series. And in the next three elimination games, he averaged over 36 points, over 11 rebounds, and over 9 assists.   

This player, one man brought an entire city together. Cleveland’s streets were flooded with 1 million fans at the championship parade.  

In just 11 year, James has given more to Cleveland than any athlete ever has, even boosting the city’s economy. When LeBron came back in 2015, bar owners near The Q enjoyed a 20-30 percent increase in revenue on game nights.

This year’s playoffs have only been a reminder of LeBron’s greatness.

James has dominated the opposition, winning his first nine games. He’s even toying with his rivals, spinning the ball casually a couple times before swishing a three-pointer in Serge Ibaka’s face, one of the premier defenders in the NBA.

Please, Cleveland sports fans, relish this legend. There will never be another Cleveland athlete like him. He’s the greatest basketball player of all time. He’s stayed away from trouble off the floor, and the LeBron James Foundation provides more than $41 million in scholarships for students from James’ hometown, Akron.  

He is the greatest basketball player in the world. He’s the best passer in the league. He’s a freight train coming down the lane. He makes all his teammates better.

Clevelanders, enjoy his greatness. We won’t ever get another athlete like LeBron. When we Shaker students grow up and have our own children, we will tell them stories about The King of Akron.

One of the greatest athletes of all time is growing up in our backyard. Enjoy him, because he won’t last forever.

 

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Hey Cleveland, Savor LeBron’s Greatness