He Came, He Conquered. Now Miami Moves On


I’m sitting over a plate of huevos rancheros, trying the breakfast dish for the first time, when I get the news via a Twitter notification.

LeBron James announces he is returning to Cleveland, it says. I check out the story on Sports Illustrated, reading the words LeBron wrote.

“I’m coming home.”

I don’t have a reaction, really.

Am I catatonic?

Has it sunk in?

A year of blogging has me trained to think about what is next.

Chris Bosh will probably sign with Houston, I say aloud to my girlfriend. She is sitting next to me pouring hot sauce on her eggs. (He ended up re-signing with Miami)

Ray Allen. He is gone.

Dwyane Wade? He doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

I’ve hardly eaten at this point. I’m not devastated or even upset. I just have a lot to think about.

I know one thing, though, I will not forget my first huevos rancheros.

I decided a few days ago that if LeBron left Miami I wouldn’t be upset about it.

Four years ago, the best player in the NBA brought us his talents, four finals appearances, two championships, an historically dominating playoff performance against the Boston Celtics, that dunk over Jason Terry, a 27-game win streak, countless oohs and ahhs and the peak years of one of the best players to ever play this game.

His presence sparked the greatest shot in NBA Finals history and a new generation of Heat fans as Miami was taken with its new favorite team.

LeBron’s greatness distracted fans from the Miami Dolphins tripping over themselves and having their tax dollars robbed by the Marlins.

So I’m not upset.

We already had an All-Star, an all time great player in Dwyane Wade. Having LeBron was a bonus.

It was like hitting the lottery. You don’t count on two of the league’s best players joining forces. That’s not how championship teams are typically built. That’s what caused so much resentment for the Heat these last few years.

Miami was virtually guaranteed another championship just a few years after Wade delivered the franchise’s first in 2006.

And now James is gone.

He said his four years in Miami was like a college experience. That is absolutely true, if that experience was one long frat party marked by pre-celebrations, fire works, rapping on stage, bar tabs at LIV, dunking over Jason Terry, Harlem Shake videos and interview bombs.

Good times. Now comes the hangover.

Miami is left with Dwyane, whose knees are crumbling after years of giving his all on the court for South Florida, and Bosh, who has to step up as the No. 1 scoring option for the first time since moving from Toronto.

Pat Riley is faced with the task of building a contender around those two.

Meanwhile, James joins a young and promising cast in Cleveland. Back in his hometown where he always believed he would return to. Something Miami fans denied would happen in the near future.

Miami groomed James into an all-time great player. James groomed Miami into a basketball town. One that is showing more understanding and grace than Cleveland after The Decision.

James said in the letter that he made mistakes, but never would change those four years in Miami.

Well, neither would I.

Thank you.