(Karen Schlely/Akron Beacon Journal)
It is…all about the kids…
LeBron James returned home to Akron, Ohio yesterday a conquering hero. James attended a minor league baseball game and was honored for his recent on the court accomplishments. One week removed from putting a cap on one of the great seasons in NBA history as he won his second Olympic gold medal.
And is possibly seeking a third at the Rio Games in 2016.
Two years ago LeBron James was burned in effigy. Leaving the state of Ohio and the Cavaliers franchise in a rage unlike any in recent American sports history. James joined the Miami Heat in hopes of winning the world championship that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert didn’t place high on his list of goals. The only thing Gilbert cared about was making a profit at the expense of James’ name, talent and heartbreak each spring.
LeBron James has taken a beating in every corner of the globe for two years. The tide has turned maybe ninety degrees since last week’s gold medal victory. The way the world views him now is of minimal concern.
“I don’t even get involved with that anymore,” he said. “I don’t look for it. I don’t shy away from it. I just kind of roll with what’s going on. For me, and it started before last season, I came in with a different mindset and a different attitude and it didn’t matter if you believed in me or not, I was still going to be how I was and stay true to who I was and who I am.
“And that’s all that matters.”
James was also honored for his “Wheels for Education” program that provides children in the Akron area with school supplies, programs and mentoring. James remembers the driving force behind the program.
“I was one of these kids,” James said. “It means everything to me to be able to give back. I have a passion for it. I love seeing kids smile, and for them to have someone who can lead them. For me to be in this position and being able to help and give back, means a lot.”
The kids don’t worry about whose uniform James dons, he’s given each beneficiary something that outweighs any medal or Larry O’Brien Trophy.
James took the moment to express his desire to play in a fourth Olympic Games. He has yet to inform USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo but does expect to be in Rio barring any setbacks.
“We haven’t had that conversation,” James said. “But if I’m healthy, I did the math and I’ll be 31, and if I have the opportunity to be out there, I will do it. I love it. I love being a part of it and representing my country. I don’t know what may happen in four years, but it would be great to be back out there again. Definitely.”
In the wake of winning the gold James said that he has not spoken or heard from any members of the 1992 Dream Team.
“Nah,” he said. “I don’t expect to hear from any of them.”
Oklahoma City re-ups Serge Ibaka (Pro Basketball Talk).
Trent Richardson should be returning to practice soon (Pro Football Talk).
Note to Todd Akin, rape is rape (CNN).
Director Tony Scott dies of apparent suicide (CNN).
Earthquake in Indonesia kills six (In Flex We Trust).
What the hell (In Flex We Trust).
Willie Nelson rushed to the hospital with trouble breathing (In Flex We Trust).
Four shot at Texas Walmart (CNN).
It looks like the job is Cedric Benson’s to lose (Pro Football Talk).
His name is Jazzy (Instagram).
Somebody talk to ’em, before I go off on ’em…