It's amazing what a championship will do for a person. For some, it means eternal recognition. For others, it is simply a triumph over adversity. And for a select few, a championship can mean redemption - a phoenix-like rise from the ashes. Such is the case for LeBron James. After making the decision to jump ship and leave Cleveland behind, James was crucified. Now, with a title under his belt in Miami, James is back on top of the world.
It wasn't all that long ago that every move James made was scrutinized with the world's largest magnifying glass. Battling a cold? No, that must have meant James was abandoning his city and his teammates while he took a day off. Turned ankle? No, it must be that he runs around and tries to do too much resulting in poor ankles. The asinine knocks on LeBron James got tiresome as he entered his second season with the Miami Heat. But by the end of the 2011-12 season James had redeemed himself and was vaulted into the upper echelon of the NBA. As if he wasn't there already. But the championship did something more than get that ever-coveted, ever-elusive title out of the way.
Like shedding an old damp coat on the way into the warmth of a winter cottage, James left his haters behind. They're still out there, of course. They're just far less vocal. It seems that once James and the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship last season, he found himself back on the perch he once stood while with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He took a tumble, but that fall allowed him to re-focus, to re-dedicated himself. It was a kick in the pants for a player who probably never really needed a kick in the pants.
Now, every injury, every cold, every moment James misses time is not an insult to the game, to his team. It's time in which the fans simply wish him well, wish him back. James does sit out from time to time. However, in those instances are met with respect rather than a loathing cry from a jaded following.
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