With a flurry of LeBron hashtags going on right now in the world, I am going to throw my thoughts out here, for what it’s worth. Just to be clear, this is Nicole posting, as I don’t want to speak on behalf of the rest of the Losing LeBron team. I will say, however, that we’re all constantly refreshing our Twitter feeds in the hopes of #TheReturn.
It was four years ago this week that I was sitting in a tiny restaurant in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, with the person who is now my husband, frantically trying to access the web on my not-so-smart phone, desperately trying to see where LeBron James would decide to go. For sure, I thought, it was all a publicity stunt for charity. There’s no way he’d leave Cleveland. He was their hero, their son. And then the unthinkable happened.
For the past four years, people have asked me a lot about LeBron– mostly, if I loved him, or hated him, or met him, or what he would think of our film, or what I thought he would do next. For the past four years, I have been saying the same thing: I didn’t love or hate him, but I was fascinated by him. I sorta kinda met him (you’ll see in the film), and I think he’d actually enjoy Losing LeBron. Finally, I believed he’d win a ring or two with Miami, thus boosting his self-confidence so he could graciously go back home to bring a title to Cleveland. The prodigal son would return, and become a legend in his hometown. This is the part where I usually lose all sorts of street cred. People have laughed at me, telling me I don’t understand how professional athletes operate, but to that I’d just answer that people don’t understand what it means to be from Cleveland, or what it means to be a Cleveland sports fan. 2014 marks 50 years since Cleveland has won any sports championships. HALF A CENTURY. We in Boston (where I’m based) easily forget how lucky we are to have won numerous titles in all our teams in the past decade. What if the Sox never reversed the curse? What if the Bird era never existed? How would we feel not having won anything since 1964? What would that do to our psyche, to be from a city that doesn’t win? It’s often referenced in our film: When you’re from a place that wins, you expect to do well. When you’re from a place that loses, you always expect the worst. After a while, it starts to break you down. Most Clevelanders wear these battle scars like badges of honor, and it’s what I loved about them when I was out there working on the film. Their teams lose, and yet they still buy season tickets every year, tailgating in freezing conditions, being blasted by lake-effect snow. It’s not pathetic; it’s pride. I went to a Sox game earlier this week, and by the fifth inning, the Sox were down 4-0, and members of our Sox Nation were leaving. Clevelanders don’t do that. No matter what, they stick it out.
I tend to throw a lot of crazy “What if’s?” out into the universe. It’s how I’ve made major life decisions, which, so far, have all turned out pretty well. It’s how I decided to make Losing LeBron, which sprang from 1. a homework assignment that spun out of control, and 2. a running injury that caused me to drop out of marathon training. I’ve been looking at signs that the universe throws back to me, and I just keep repeating, over and over, that the planets are aligning for greatness when it comes to LeBron’s next move. In addition to the 50th anniversary of the Cleveland Browns winning the AFC championship, LeBron turns 30 this year. He’s a married man now, with his third child on the way. He’s gotten over his insecurity and has proven to himself that he can win championships. His home base is still in Akron, and he has unwavering pride for his hometown, giving back to his community again and again. He constantly reminds us that he’s “Just another kid from Akron, Ohio” on his personal website. In more recent weeks, these signs are becoming more prevalent, especially in the social media world, so much that it’s making my mind spin.
In the end, it’s all up to LeBron. I still cringe when I think of what he did to Cleveland, and of all the sad and angry people we met and filmed. “The Decision” was the move of someone immature, who wasn’t quite ready for “The Reaction” that it received. LeBron has had a lot of time and space to reflect on what he did, and to grow from the experience. He’s an adult now, coming into his own.
My wishful-thinking prediction: He’ll go back, and he will be humble. He’ll be focused on making the Cavaliers a strong team, and will be a mentor and leader to his younger teammates. He’ll work hard to earn the respect of the city whose heart he broke four years ago. And he’ll win one for the city– maybe not in the first year, but eventually it will happen. It has to happen. Think about what it would mean not just to Cleveland, but to any sports fan. The Prodigal Son. The Return. The Comeback King. It will be the most epic sports story of all time. And I can’t wait to be there to experience it… with a camera in hand, of course.
In the days/weeks that follow, please consider checking out our film, if you haven’t already, and tell your friends about it. We’re on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, Vudu, XBox, Playstation, and Vimeo on Demand, which you can access through the following link:
We’ll have some Cable on Demand announcements in the next few weeks, and word on the street is that Losing LeBron will have its Cleveland-area Cable on Demand premiere on August 5th, which happens to be my birthday… yet another sign…