COLUMN: At least LeBron kept his promise

Sitting through the embarrassing spectacle that was Game 4 of the NBA Finals Friday night, no Cleveland Cavalier fan could turn off its TV, phone or laptop.

He or she had to watch until the conclusion, or at least until the four-minute mark when LeBron James came out and congratulated the Golden State Warriors for winning their third title in four years.

A standing ovation was in order. Tears flowed in Quicken Loans Arena, and possibly to those in another location. They all know the conclusion.

The greatest athlete in Cleveland history will take his talents elsewhere, again.

If you were LeBron, would you want to return to a franchise where you have to do 95 percent of the work and still get swept in the championship?

Even if LeBron stays with Cleveland, he’s already the GOAT. His number will be retired, a statue will be constructed, LeBron James Avenue will be a thing and he’ll probably own the franchise eventually. All of this will happen no matter what uniform he dons in the forseeable future.

Again, why would he stay?

All I can think of is pride and family. Maybe his family likes the Cleveland area and his kids love attending school in Ohio. Maybe he also enjoys living in Northeast Ohio.

One thing is guaranteed, and that’s there isn’t a lot of pressure wearing the Wine and Gold. He already delivered on his promise and brought a championship back to the shores of Lake Erie. He has nothing else to prove.

Granted, being the greatest basketball player of this generation, he should influence other stars to join him. However, nobody else wants to play in Cleveland and/or for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Kyrie Irving couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

LeBron should have done that back in 2010. Already a two-time MVP at that point, he joined Dwyane Wade in Miami instead of getting a free agent or two to join him. Or maybe motivating Wade to be traded to Cleveland (that would’ve never happened considering Wade already won a title with the Heat a few years before that, but I’m just saying.) Chris Bosh knew what was happening, hence why he jumped on the Heat bandwagon.

I was shocked when LeBron took his talents to South Beach, but I’ll be even more surprised if he announces he’s staying in Cleveland. It’ll be more shocking then when he returned four summers ago.

Don’t believe me? Go back to his postgame conference Friday night/Saturday morning. A reporter asked him about what he may do. LeBron said that this decision will not be as tough as 2010. Read between the lines.

Another reporter (maybe the same one) asked if winning one title in his hometown was enough. LeBron did not answer, but I think it is.

When LeBron does leave, I won’t be throwing or giving away my James merchandise. I will keep my Sports Illustrated 2016 championship cover framed forever.

I’m pretty satisfied with that one title, especially because it was so dramatic after facing a 3-1 deficit. And, the Warriors now have three titles in four years? Cleveland’s the reason why it’s not four straight.

Imagine this scenario with LeBron occurring now without a championship. What if he’s deciding all of this, the Cavs made four straight NBA Finals but have nothing to show for it? LeBron would most likely stay because his promise wasn’t kept.

That promise, though, was kept. Thank you, King.

He should sign with the Phildadelphia 76ers because it makes the most sense. He owns the Eastern Conference. He would make the NBA Finals every year with that core guaranteed. Why lose to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals when you can fall victim in the NBA Finals?

LeBron would bring out the best in Joel Embid, Ben Simmons and more. The Celtics wouldn’t get past them, and LeBronto is a real city.

Rumors are circulating that he may join the Boston Celtics. I really hope this doesn’t happen. Why would he join a franchise he’s owned since 2010? He might join them because Boston thinks Irving will not resign after the upcoming season and will join the New York Knicks. And that would mean one more year of LeBron and Irving teaming up. I think the main reason Irving left was because he wanted to be the only superstar on a team. Well, if LeBron joins the Celtics, Irving will definitely want a new home again.

I can’t think of another Eastern Conference team LeBron would join, so the 76ers are his best option.

Now, if he does switch to the West, it will be the Los Angeles Lakers or the Houston Rockets. If he goes to Houston, the pressure on LeBron winning a title again will be tremendous. Pressure will come with whoever he joins, but the Rockets top the list.

LeBron would combine forces with bonified All-Stars in James Harden and Chris Paul (if he returns). Hey, maybe LeBron can convince Paul to move to Cleveland. Good luck with that.

If LeBron joins the Lakers, it’ll only be because he wants to be a movie star and live the Hollywood life. We already know Isaiah Thomas can’t play with LeBron. The Lakers are a dumpster fire. One of the best things going for them in recent seasons (Larry Nance Jr.) plays with the Cavs.

LeBron said earlier this year that the four teams he would consider are the Cavs, 76ers, Rockets and Lakers. You can add a fifth team with these Celtics rumors.

Oh man, a thought just popped in mind. I know I said earlier I’m content with whatever he decides, but I lied. He better NOT join the Warriors. My love for the game will be lost.

Other than that, thanks LeBron.

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