It was July 7, 2010, and I was at California Pizza Kitchen – unaware that I was moments away from witnessing an event that would force me to re-identify one of my greatest heroes as a backstabbing villain.
That day I was with family friends, sitting at the kids’ table and staring at the television screen as I waited for my mac and cheese.
And as I glanced at the television, my eyes enlarged when I saw the only NBA player I could identify – my hero, LeBron James – standing on a stage between two other athletes I didn’t know
Then I saw “The King” take off his jumpsuit to reveal an obnoxiously bright red jersey with the word “Heat” smack dab in the middle.
I had no idea what was going on at first. Heck, the only teams I knew by name were the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers, (who at the time I thought played in their rival’s city, Boston,) but my friend Alex knew exactly what had just unfolded.
Staring blankly at the screen for what seemed like an eternity, he then turned to me and said, “He’s bad now. LeBron’s bad.”
Hating LeBron gained popularity from there. Like everyone – besides those living in Miami – I viewed him as a traitor to his hometown (Cleveland, where he played for the Cavaliers for seven years) and as a jerk for publicizing it on a TV special known as “The Decision.”
Taking my hatred further, I rooted against him for the four years that he was in the NBA finals with the Heat, and I was overjoyed the two years he lost.
However, through maturity and research, I have discovered that I was wrong about the whole thing.
See, unlike Kevin Durant, LeBron is not a snake. Unlike Durant in Oklahoma City, LeBron had no chance of winning a title with the Cavaliers since there was no other All-Star caliber player on the team.
Therefore, LeBron, I’m sorry. I was overly judgmental, and you were just trying to win a championship.
I hope that we can get past this, and if so, I’d like to extend an olive branch in the form of an invitation.
LeBron Raymone James Sr., I want you to come to Sacramento, man. I want you to be the face of the Kings.
I get that at first, it might seem crazy. Why on earth would the greatest NBA player in the history of the game want to come to the Farm-to-Fork Capital when he can get more publicity, money and fans in a city like Houston or Los Angeles?
Because, LeBron, Lady Birdville is perfect for you. After growing up in Akron, Ohio, you know what it’s like to live in a city with a small-town feel that’s connected to other major cities.
Also, after listening to my classmate Jackson Crawford’s sophomore project, I learned that Golden 1 Center is the most advanced arena in the world.
Therefore, if you are The King, shouldn’t you play in the most lavish court?
And let’s face it. To close out your career, wouldn’t it feel better to join a team that – with the proper push – could win it all than a team where you get coaching advice from LaVar Ball?
After all, it just makes sense The King should play for the Kings.
Originally published in the May 8 edition of the Octagon.
—By Jackson Margolis