Here’s the story about LeBron James that I believe: He was a fun-loving kid with Cleveland, back when he was just a prodigious bright spot in a grateful town. He goofed around with his teammates, and he tread lightly on the NBA. Nobody wins titles that way, but still it was a blast, a near revolution. When the youth of it all was fading, he made one right decision by leaving a town where he could never thrive, and one wrong decision to announce it on television in a way that hurt his fans. He was still a good person, but he was entering the real world of expectations, and it reflected negatively on him that he couldn’t see the pain he was about to cause. He was punished severely in the court of public opinion, and hatred followed him to Miami. As he admitted Thursday night, he returned that hatred in kind, and karma caught up with him against Dallas. He couldn’t find a way to reconcile the love he had for the game with the high stakes and tension of the real NBA. He paid. And then this year, starting with Indiana, he discovered the path. The steps were clear — the Heat beat the Pacers, he became a legend in Game 6 against Boston, and he exorcised the remaining ghosts against Oklahoma City. He played the game on his terms, with love, and he won beautifully.
(via Shane Ryan on Grantland)