Eleven short months ago, Lebron James uttered the most infamous words in NBA history:
"In this Fall, I'm going to take my talents to South Beach."
Today, he probably regrets that "Decision" more than ever.
Just about a year ago, Lebron had it all: The adoration of a city, a state, even a country. Millions loved him. They bought his jerseys, flocked to his games, celebrated his victories and mourned his losses. He was a hero. He was the "Chosen One."
Reporters loved him. Fans loved him. Heck, I loved him. He was the Anti-Kobe, an unselfish team player who was going to bring a championship to Cleveland, Ohio. He was the local boy, the hometown hero.
And now, a year later, he's Public Enemy #1. And it's beginning to wear on him.
Much has been said in the past few days about Lebron's sudden inability to impact games in the 4th Quarter, and rightly so. During the first five games of the 2011 NBA Finals Lebron James has scored only 11 4th-quarter points. Dirk Nowitzki, in contrast, has scored almost five times that in the final quarter of games 1-5.
In fact, James scored fewer points in Tuesday's Game 4 than in any of his 90 previous NBA Playoff games. And why?
ESPN analysts and sports writers nationwide are baffled. But I know the answer.
I know why Lebron James is struggling now more than he ever has, despite having everything he's ever asked for.
It's because he left Cleveland.
And I don't mean that karma has come to get him, or that he's been cursed by Dan Gilbert. No, it's not about any of those things. Rather, it's about family. It's about friends. It's about support. It's about love.
And that is one thing Miami can never give him.Continued on the next page