Windhorst: Before it’s All Over, LeBron Will Play for Cleveland

I’m not saying it’s happening in 2014, but before it’s all over, LeBron [James] will play [for] Cleveland. He will get a statue; they just built a statue for Jim Thome and he stiffed Cleveland just as much as LeBron. In the end, he goes back to the Cavs and he’s remembered as a great player and not as a villain. I might be proven wrong, but that’s my read on the situation.

– Former Cavaliers and current Miami Heat beat writer Brian Windhorst in a recent Heat Index Live chat for ESPN. He followed said statement up later in a Truehoop  5-on-5 saying that “and when it does happen the Cavs fans, for the most part, will welcome him back.”

[Related: Thompson: Friendship with LeBron “Out the Window” When on Court]

  • Anonymous

    All of what you said may be true but, let me go all cliche on you for a moment:

    Wounds heal but scars remind. And seriously, of all the high profile guys that have left this city they pail in comparison to Lebron James. People here may forget about it but plenty of that would flood back should this situation arise.

  • TNR

    disagree. lebron is wayyyyy more monumental than thome. lebron now knows his mistakes and hes trying to get back in cleveland. no way this will ever happen, even in trade

  • Harv 21

    wow, humboldt. You may be the only person who doesn’t think he quit. The only debate I’ve ever heard is whether he was truly hurt. Of course then last year he folded, again, in the Finals by avoiding the ball and going weirdly docile, again.  Yes, I do think it’s a pathology, as would be his desire come back to have everyone here love him again so he can live with himself. I disagree he’s a young person. He’s been schooled in people using him and how to use people since he was 14. He made multiple organizations, including a Russian billionaire, come to Cleveland and genuflect before his Akron high school buddies. C’mon. Say you want him because he’s a magnificent baller. Don’t claim he’s just a developing child. In the 7 years he was here he got progressively worse. Not our responsibility any more.

  • Pahniti Tosuksri

    This is the only way he’ll be able to get Jonah Hill to play in the movie.

    On a serious note though, the only way that we would accept LeBron back, is if he bought an hour TV spot, diverted all proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club, and announced his return in an apology. And cried. Real tears. I want to see him cry in apology for the wrongs that he’s done. He doesn’t need to get on his knees and beg, but he has to at least recognized what his actions mean to the city he left.

    That is all.

  • Jason

    Brother Windhorst is hoping we will welcome HIM back as well.  Both can stay down in Florida as far as I am concerned.

  • JM

    OK I don’t want him back. Aside from being a jerk when he was here, he disrespected this whole city with the way he left. And not only that, why would he even want to come back? No one has brought that up.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    I never want that punk on our team ever again.  Ever.  He could offer to play for us at the league minimum and I still wouldnt take him.  There are very few things as Cleveland fans that take precedence over trying to win our first championship.  One of them is city pride.  He spit on our city, why would anyone accept that?

  • Humboldt

    I certainly don’t think this is a fully fledged apology, but you are deluding yourself if you don’t see this as progress relative to his post-decision behaviors/statements.  My guess is that Lebron will get more conciliatory as time goes on, and so should we. That is the nature of forgiveness.

  • Harv 21

    very funny

  • Bartletsmail

    This is the big thing for me. It doesn’t matter if we forgive him, Dan Gilbert is the one cutting the checks. I don’t think Gilbert will ever allow it.

    Also, has he been that great of an addition in Miami? He has problems sharing the spotlight still.

  • CBI

    Shaq left Orlando in 96 and I’m not seeing a statue there yet.  I could see Akron building one, but not Cleveland.

  • Floydrubino

    only dumb pride and i am for this stupid pride

    from a basketball stand point obviously any team would take him
    you have to remember it was not all just basketball because behind the scenes people knew he was leaving and when he signed the 3 year contract he prevented us to sign any one else because he had no real commitment. He basically held the city ransom and then him and espn portrayed us like we were idiots in front of national audience. How many times did you see that 1 drunken fan burn his jersey and they made us sound like we were all like that. He allowed espn to make a joke out of us and cast us as the idiot but i think people finally saw through the person he really is.  Then on top of it dan gilbert writes that letter and makes the whole city look terrible. I don’t blame him for being upset for losing all that money but i think it gave you insight on how immature he is and how he runs things.

  • Anonymous

    Cannot WAIT.

  • Floydrubino

    100% agree

  • Anonymous

    this is a family site, but I think we all know how we can incorporate BW into the LeBron statue 😉

  • Anonymous

    Art Modell is the devil.  Thereby, not a person.  So, you are safe.

  • Anonymous

    thinking about this further.    I have waited 120+ Cleveland sport seasons (ok, not counting seasons before I was 6 when I remember watching sports cuts it down just over 100).   I have never seen a championship, but I continue to watch knowing that when/if we do achieve that ever elusive championship the gratification will be so sweet that all of that suffering will have been worth it.

    LeBron coming back to the Cavs after everything that has happened and delivering that first championship would sort of ruin it for me.  The season leading up to the championship would be full of hand-wringing and back and forth emotions instead of a constant build up (that actually pays off for once).  If I have had to wait so long for a championship, then I do not want it sullied in such a way.

  • willson

    won’t welcome him back today, tomorrow, or in ten years. thome was different. also, i wouldn’t welcome back windhorst either. keep them both in FL, or at least out of CLE.

  • Humboldt

    Harv, I didn’t take a side on whether he quit or not. The truth is none of us know what was going on during that Celtics series. People like the esteemed Brian Windhorst have gone on record saying that Lebron didn’t quit, he choked, which is an important distinction.

    I agree with you that he has been shaped by many unseemly forces/people from his teenage years onwards. You seem to believe that he is incorrigibly tainted as a person and player.  I tend to be a bit more forgiving and have, in this thread, cited evidence of greater self-awareness and contrition in Lebron’s most recent statements about The Decision.  I choose to interpret this as growth.

    Also, to your latter point, LBJ is not a developing child, he’s a developing man, like we all are.  I’m a bit disturbed at the haste in which people are willing to totally write someone off.

  • Humboldt

    Ok, we can agree that it was one big lousy decision in his mid-20s!

  • Anonymous

    The list of Tribe legends without statues makes the lovefest for Thome even more disgusting.

  • Wow

    Fat boy is stirring up rumors down there. Must be a slow news day.

  • Anonymous

    I care what Gilbert thinks.

    He has shown to be the most committed of any of the three owners in town currently.


  • Anonymous

    Youre joking right?

    How many fans do you think he would alienate with that signing? It’s generally not good practice to turn your fan base against you.

    As you can see from most comments here, he would not be welcomed back.

  • The Other Tim

    As this is a PG-13 site, I can’t mention what he’s had in his mouth since he left with his hero for Miami

  • The Other Tim

    Remember how great Jordan was with the Wizards?
    Wouldn’t that be great for the Cavs?

  • Floydrubino

    he was committed because lebron doubled the value of the franchise. yeah he really cares about you when he raised the ticket prices ridiculously the year after lebron left expecting lebron to not turn his back on cleveland. he was riding lebron all the way to the bank because he never thought would be that much of a traitor. You calling him boss gilbert is weird.

  • Anonymous

    He earned that nickname in my book when he bought the cavs, bought the naming rights to the Q, bought into the monsters, brought the casino and now bought into the gladiators…do you see a trend?

    Gilbert is single handidly investing the most money into our city of any majority owner in town.

    …..mafia-like isnt it?

    You being upset with him for pumping millions of dollars to keep the franchises alive downtown henceforth keeping restaurants, bars, living and pretty much the downtown economy alive is weird, almost disgusting.

  • Cavsfan767

    you know what i dont even care what he did i want him back hes a native he belongs in cleveland if he came back id forgive him. In the end we need him

  • Beta_diamond

    Yes, he handled his free agency horribly, and left Cleveland standing at the alter. But he left to WIN, not for money or to be “the man” he took less in every capacity (besides trading Ohio weather for Miami weather…) to WIN. At heart he is still an Ohio kid born and raised. He lost track of the the real world and had/has a big head (who wouldn’t/and why shouldn’t he? He’s one of the most amazing players we’ve ever witnessed), but I think he has been grounded by all the hate of the past few years, regrets his handling of the free agency situation and how he left the Cavs/Cleveland out to dry, and realizes that Ohio is his home/his family. We knew him before, during, and after he became “prom queen.” People forget that he was only 25 when he made that decision. Can you really hold his ill-advised decisions against him forever??? If everyone’s decisions at that age were destined to be eternally unforgivable most of us would be in a lot of trouble…

    I for one would welcome him back. Maybe that’s just the Akronite in me though..