Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward LeBron James returned to Cleveland before the start of the 2014-2015 NBA season in an effort to lead the Cavs to their first NBA title in franchise history. As most fans recall, “King James” had to absorb scorn from NBA fans back in 2010 when he decided to end his first stint with the Cavaliers to take his talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. Cavs’ fans were devastated, burning King James’ #23 jersey in effigy. However, LeBron’s excursion to sunny south Florida proved to be fruitful. James teamed with guard Dwyane Wade and forward Chris Bosh to lead Miami to two NBA championships in four NBA Finals appearances.
To the surprise of many, James decided to leave the Heat and rejoin the Cavs after losing the 2014 NBA title to the San Antonio Spurs in five games. This time, James would join guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love in an effort to form the Midwest version of the “Big Three” similar to the “Big Three” of James, Wade, and Bosh down in Miami. Many NBA experts picked Cleveland to win the NBA title. The Cavs are currently in the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, who won a league best 67 wins in the regular season. The Warriors also have the league’s Most Valuable Player in guard Stephen Curry, a sweet shooting guard that can hit three point shots seemingly with ease. Factor in injuries to Irving and Love that have sidelined both for the remainder of the Finals, and it looks like the Cavaliers’ chance of a title is just a pipe dream.
Or is it? Cleveland lost the first game in overtime 108-100, despite James’ 44 points. Game Two seemed to offer more heartache for the Cavs and specifically James, who constantly drove the lane without drawing fouls on Warrior defenders despite getting hit in plain view of the officials. Despite a poor shooting performance from LeBron and his teammates, King James still managed a triple double with 39 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists to carry the Cavs to a 95-93 overtime victory over the Warriors to tie the NBA Finals at one game each.
Game Three is tonight in the friendly confines of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. While many so called experts believe Golden State will win the series, it would be foolish to count out LeBron and the Cavs. King James has put the Cavs on his back at times, willing them to victory even when they’re not playing their best. It’s been said that LeBron could be the Series MVP regardless of the outcome. If James can sustain his stellar play and somehow lead the Cavs to the NBA title, it would be the greatest sports story of the year.
No, scratch that. It would be the greatest sports story of all time. Why? Picture it: hometown hero gets drafted by his hometown team, he leaves said team for greener and flashier pastures, breaking his hometown fans’ collective hearts. Our hero finds additional fame, fortune, and the holy grail in the form of ultimate success (read: a championship). Then, he shocks the world by returning to his hometown and leading his once woebegone hometown franchise to not only its first major title, but the first major title for the city in over 50 years. From hero, to villain, to hero a billion times over. Hollywood couldn’t write a better script.
LeBron James has the chance to write that script, and at 9pm Eastern time tonight, it’ll be lights, camera, action!