You wanna know what I did this weekend?
Probably not, but that’s a good thing because the answer, well, the answer is not much.
I hung out with the family (mostly my wife and two-year-old son), had a few friends over for barbeque and baseball Saturday night and lounged around Sunday before catching a bit of the World Cup final. I was practically parked within the same 1,500 square foot space all weekend … and I loved every minute of it.
I was home. I was comfortable. I was happy.
I bet LeBron James is happy, too.
The best player in the world certainly didn’t sew up last season the way he would’ve liked, watching the Spurs pick apart his Heat like a surgeon at an operating table. But, after announcing he would leave South Beach for the shores of Lake Erie in a classy letter published on SI.com Friday morning, the two-time NBA champion and four-time league MVP is back home.
The part of his letter I found most poignant was the very first paragraph. If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, here it is:
“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio,” he said. “It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”
Read the rest when you get a chance, but for know, let LeBron’s example be a lesson to us all — there’s no place on earth quite like home … whether that home is right here in Delaware, up the interstate in Cleveland or beyond this state or country’s boarders. And we should all do what we can to make home the best place on the planet.
His move, which was made with his heart as much as his head, was just one of several made with similar intentions right here in Ohio. In Delaware, we just saw an athletic director leave a post he’d had for 31 years to return home and serve as AD at Hayes, his alma mater. Several area coaches have done the same thing, returning to their roots to lead their former high schools.
It’s happened with Cleveland’s other two professional sports teams, too, as quarterback Brian Hoyer, a two-sport standout at Saint Ignatius High School, signed with the Browns prior to last season while Nick Swisher, who played baseball at The Ohio State University, signed with the Indians after playing out his contract in New York.
All the cool kids are doing it … and I sure am glad LeBron made the same choice.
From a strictly basketball standpoint, his decision was iffy. The Cavs have plenty of flexibility — money to spend and promising young pieces — but, outside of LeBron, the entire roster is basically a bunch of collage-age kids … kids who haven’t tasted a playoff push or even sniffed the ramped up intensity of the NBA’s second season.
Then there’s the stark contrast of the cities themselves, Cleveland and Miami, which I don’t imagine we need to talk about.
Cleveland, though, is home — a fact which outweighed the allure of all the other places LeBron could have gone combined.
In his letter, he compared his time with the Heat to the typical college experience. He became a better basketball player in Miami, a better man, he said. He never lost sight of home, though.
None of us ever should.
I remember when I went off to college. I couldn’t wait to get out of my parents’ house, the house I grew up in parked right in the middle of the town I’d lived in since birth. I couldn’t wait to do my own thing.
It didn’t take me long to realize how much I’d miss home, though, and when I graduated from college, in the handful of months between earning my degree and landing my first real job, I sure was glad to have it.
You can buy a house anywhere. You can buy several in a slew of different places, but you’ll only ever have one home.
Just ask LeBron.