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History Now: Lebron James Is Returning To Cleveland

In July of 2010 Lebron James was live on ESPN and sports fans all over the world were watching to see where he would go as a free agent. Many consider that moment one of James’ worst since bursting onto the national sports scene in 2002 while he was still in High School. With the words “I have decided to take my talents to South Beach” James ripped the hearts out of the already heart broken Cleveland sports fans bodies. The fans of Cleveland loudly voiced their disapproval and ran to the streets to burn James jerseys and shout their hate for their once beloved star.

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Lebron James wearing the jersey we will see him in again when the 2014-15 NBA season begins. (Getty Images)

Fast forward four years to today and a lot has changed for Lebron James. James never won an NBA Title in Cleveland during the seven seasons he played there. However James was in the NBA Finals over the past four seasons and won two titles with the Miami Heat. James had accomplished his dream of winning an NBA Championship and seems to rest easier with his accomplishment than he did as a player still seeking a title four years ago.

There was much speculation as to where Lebron James would go after he declined the final two years of his Miami Heat contract to pursue free agency. He spent the last ten days of his free agency period to make everyone wait and see where he would end up. On July 11th, 2014 around 1pm EST its was announced through a press release from James that he would be returning to back home to Cleveland. The fans of Cleveland have largely forgiven James for what happened that summer in 2010 and just wanted him back. Cleveland got their wish and their Ohio son back today.

While the city of Miami was reaping the benefits of having Lebron James for the past four seasons the Cleveland Cavilers have struggled to say the least. With multiple number one picks in the NBA Draft the team never recovered after James departed but do have the pieces in place for James to excel with. Much talk will swirl over the next four months before the season begins about whether James made the right choice but one thine is certain, Lebron James makes the Cavs an instant contender.

Marion Motley: Breaking The Color Barrier In Football

In 1947 Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.  It was a historic happening that changed professional sports forever.  However Robinson was not the first African-American athlete to break the color barrier in American professional sports.

In 1946 a year before Jackie Robinson made history, four African-Americans became the first to play professional football since the NFL became segregated in 1933.  Those four players were Marion Motley, Bill Willis, Woody Strode and Kenny Washington.  Both Motley and Willis signed with the Cleveland Browns who played in the All-American Football Conference.  While Strode and Washington were signed by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League.  Those four Men all made history that year but one man’s carrier would stand out more than all of the others, that man was Marion Motley.

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley (Getty Images)

Marion Motley was born in 1920 in Leesburg, GA.  He grew up in Canton, Oh and was an excellent High School football player.  He would play his college career as a Full Back at the South Carolina State and the University of Nevada, Reno.  He entered the US Navy in 1944 during World War II before beginning his professional carrier with the Cleveland Browns.

Marion Motley stood at 6’1” and weighed 240 pounds in his prime.   Regarded as the first real power back in the NFL Motley punished opposing defenses, pummeling any defender that got in his way.  Many who played during his time have regarded Motley as being the best football player they have ever seen.  It has also been said that he was an even better player than the Hall Of Fame running back Jim Brown.  Like brown he was an excellent back that could push for extra yards but he could block better than Brown, these skills made him a complete player.

Marion Motley played a total of 9 seasons from 1946-1955.  During this time he amassed 4,720 rushing yards and 31 touchdowns.  As a receiver he had 1,107 yards and caught 7 touchdown passes.  Motley was a 1950 Pro Bowler as well as a champion with the legendary Cleveland Brown’s teams of 1946-1950.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame in 1968, forever immortalized in his home of Canton,OH.

Marion Motley was one of the greatest football players of his era and quite possibly of all time.  He endured the same hate and discrimination as Jackie Robinson and was able to prove that he belong with the best.  He is a true American Hero and should be known and remembered by all sports fans.

Lebron Is Not Free From Scrutiny Yet

Lebron James with the one prize that eluded him for over 9 years.
(Photo By: David Dow/Getty Images)

So the craziest thing happened on Thursday night, well maybe it was not so crazy after all.  Lebron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship over the Thunder.  James who is one of the best players in basketball captured his first NBA Title.  It should be no surprise that he won a ring but for many it is.  James has had many ups and downs during his 9 year career and had 2  failed Finals opportunities.  It was what he had done in those 9 years that made a lot of fans skeptical.  He should a lot of immaturity and also made a lot of bad decisions when the pressure was turned up.  He was able to overcome all of that but he still has not won the hearts of many.

Lebron showed how much he had grown up during this playoff run.  He not only had his best playoff games and stats ever but he also handled the loses and the dealings with the media better.  Now of course James is not the only player on the Heat but he is their focal point and as he goes so does the team.  The Heat are a talented group with two other superstars in Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade plus a good cast of supporting players.  They can win without James but need him to win it all.  He came through big during this post season and we should be seeing more of this in the years to come.

The “James Haters” are still out there and they are showing everyone that they are not going anywhere.  In many ways James created a lot of this himself.  He turned a lot of people off during his time in Cleveland with his behavior during their failed post season runs.  His biggest offense would have to be the way he left Cleveland and let the world know where he was going.   In a live prime time special James from a Boys and Girls Club in Ohio told the world he would be going to…Maimi, really?  James may never let that one down.

Most of James’ faults in the past could have been put away with the Heat capturing the NBA Championship on Thursday.  Except there is one more thing lingering around.  When he went to Miami in 2010 the Heat had this ridiculous pep rally event to show off James and he said something that will haunt him probably until he retires.  The great Lebron told the fans of Miami that they were not only winning 1 championship but 6.  Yeah he really said that.  Whether that will happen is unlikely but even if it was he made a bad move by saying that.  Because he said that it takes away from every championship he will win until he reaches that number.  The anti-Lebron fans and media will not forget that anytime soon if ever.

Lebron has accomplished great things in the league and has finally got the championship monkey off of his back.  He still has a ways to go to clear his image.  If he continues to mature and wins another championship or two it is possible the haters will disappear.  If he doesn’t then Lebron will be remembered not only for his incredible talent but also being known as the most polarizing player in the history of the NBA and maybe even professional sports.