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It’s easy to say Lebron is rich enough, and that he should pass on trying to capitalize on the huge payday he has coming to him. It’s been said many times by many hacks, but I’m going to say it too.
Lebron has a chance to be a hero. I think it’s tough for jaded columnists and cosmopolitan blog readers to understand just how huge a figure Lebron could be in Cleveland. In New York, he would be a big deal. In Chicago, he’d be the top story. In Cleveland, he’s infallible.
I’ve seen first hand what that level of deification looks like. In Baltimore, Cal Ripken is a god. He’s not just everyone’s favorite baseball player, he’s the hometown boy who won us a title and played his whole career here. It’s difficult to describe just how much people in Baltimore love Cal Ripken. Lebron has a chance to reach that level if he stays in Cleveland.
Kobe, Shaq, and MJ were never going to be heroes for their city. If Larry Bird had landed with the Pacers, he could have had his picture on the Indiana state flag.
So here’s my plea as a comfortable hack with no skin in the game: Stay in Cleveland, Lebron. If you do, those people will love you unconditionally for the rest of your life. That’s not something that comes along every day.