Still #allinPosted: June 21, 2016
I said yesterday that I don’t want to see a narrative between LeBron’s return and victory tied to whatever’s going on in Cleveland. Just because millennials live in apartments in downtown Cleveland now, and just because Ohio City’s really hot, doesn’t mean that we are doing that well. The state of Ohio just asked our metropolitan planning organization to help fund a highway through our neighborhoods—and, to pull back for a moment, remember that in the Year of Our Lord 2016 we are planning to build a highway through a city, despite every piece of evidence indicating that it’s a horrible idea.
In early 2003 I got back into NBA ball after a long hiatus (I’d spent my childhood watching Bird’s Celtics but fell out of sports fandom in my teen years and into my early twenties). That spring, I saw an ESPN Magazine cover with some dude on it, labeling him the future of basketball. Curious, I picked it up, and read through the article on a plane flight from California to visit my family in Syracuse. That was my introduction to LeBron, and from then on, I was fascinated to see if he’d live up to the hype. I’ve watched him play in hundreds of games over the last thirteen years, and I can saw without hesitation that he’s the greatest basketball player I’ve witnessed (the caveat here is that I missed the Jordan era almost entirely).
Is he better than Michael? I have no idea. I don’t think it matters. Watching LeBron means watching a transcendent, once-in-a-generation talent—someone so gifted he sometimes seems like a different species—and it’s been an absolute pleasure even when I was rooting against him (which was most of the time). He’s everything we ever hoped he’d be, and anyone who can’t see that due to some kind of “count da ringz!” nonsense doesn’t understand basketball. I’m happy for him and for Cleveland, and I thank him for a series full of moments and box scores that left me shouting out loud in disbelief. As I said on Twitter after game six: he is so, so good, and I will be so sad when he’s not, anymore.
Some bonus Gchat dispatches:
JP: YOUR CITY IS GETTING ATTENTION
JP: CLEVELAND RENAISSANCE
JP: HEALTH LINE, THAT ONE MARKET, LEBRON
AB: and a highway through some of our poorest neighborhoods
JP: LEBRON CAN BLOCK THE HIGHWAY LIKE HE BLOCKED THAT 4TH QUARTER SHOT