LeBron James returns to Cleveland? Is this really how desperate we've gotten?
It seems like the rush is back. The reckless rush we've seemed to develop over the past generation of new media and new media influence to either create a story or get in front of a story before it becomes one.
Just behind the non-basketball related uproar of Mark Cuban's "racist" comments (a non-story) and the legal aftermath of Donald Sterling's racist venom (a real story), is the floating of LeBron James' unconfirmed interest in going back to play for the Cavs once his run in Miami ends.
Without merit or internal information from the subject himself, we (media and society) have taken it upon ourselves to concoct egregious possibilities that something like this has the ability of actually happening.
How stupid can we be?
At what point in this blind speculation do we consider LeBron? Who he is, the position he's put himself and his career in, and how he sees himself as a man?
More than that, at what point do we step back and reasonably ask the question: Why?
The fact that this subject has even reached the point of national discussion borders on ignorance because it is void of taking into any consideration the person at the center of why LeBron will never return to the Cavs in their current state: Dan Gilbert.
Yes, he of ownership of the Cavs. Yes, he of the public meltdown and denigration of James when he publicly took his talents to South Beach. Why would/should/will (under any situation or circumstance) LeBron go back and play for an owner who treated him the way that Gilbert did when he left? Why would LeBron do him that favor?
When his contract is up, LeBron has a choice to go to any team in the NBA and wherever he decides to go or stay he's the one doing the organization he decides to play for a favor. It is not the other way around. He -- as both a player and a brand -- has reached a status that the roles of power are reversed. He holds the cards and holds what no owner in the NBA does: his ability to decide.
And that is the true benefit of the "global icon" impact, reach and economic profitability that he once said he strived for. And now that he has it, now that he has put himself in that position, why under these circumstances would he give Dan Gilbert -- of all people -- the honor of benefiting from that?
Anyone that feels/believes/says that LeBron will/might return to Cleveland is short selling LeBron's manhood and basically saying that he has no pride or has a low self-sense of it. It theoretically is a slap in LeBron's face. Borderline degrading to him. Walking the line crossed by Sterling's way of thinking that owners also own players as well as teams.
Just a simple "put yourself in LeBron's situation" or ask yourself what any one of us would do if this were us instead of LeBron would deaden the conversation. It would eliminate all of this existing irrationality surrounding the "chances" that LeBron will or wants to return to his home team to play out the back end of his career.
We can't be consumed by our own worst selves. Not this time. Just giving LBJ the same moral compass and sense of pride that we'd give ourselves if we were him should put this to bed forever. But that's not going to happen, is it? Of course not. Because the benefit of rationality isn't strong enough in this day of sports journalism and societal presumption to override a story hellbent on having legs and a life. And we aren't conditioned or programmed on this side of dispensing information and creating content to not insult an athlete's intelligence or integrity.
That, apparently, is not who we are.
What LeBron James needs to do after the last question is answered at one of his postgame visits to the podium is say: "Oh ... and just to clear up this fixation you all have of me returning the Cleveland to play for the Cavs, I'll only consider it once Dan Gilbert is no longer the owner or when he sells the team."
Then LeBron should stand up and walk away.