We meet again, my friends, and thank you, thank you for pit-stopping my column in between your trip from Twitter to Vine. For nearly nine years, SamVox has been the soft porn of Cleveland Culture writers. And by now, in internet years, he's officially your 87-year old grandmother: no filter and no patience but far too vital to the family unit to be properly disowned. So you'll pity her, occasionally patronize her and then sell her on a plastic retirement community that plays more politics than a small-town high school. But you won't ignore her. Nope. Not after five out of six winning seasons and a well-documented net profit of over 35 dimes. Last year, I kicked off our NFL handicapping campaign by detailing my cruel summer of 2013. You may recall I lost my dog, my job, my pride, Tony Soprano, and the NBA Finals (cue the Ray Allen-step-back-travel-trey that saved the Heat's collusion legacy). This summer was the polar opposite--chock-full of jubilant jiffies that I'll share with you below in typical Top Ten fashion. Chronologically, I present the summer of my contentment:
LeBron James the man has been
dissected like a frog in a high-school science lab ever since the summer of 2010. Turncoat. Diva. Frontrunner.
mean things about James and have thought worse. Think an icy road, a steep
incline and a cement truck with faulty brakes. To me he was a soulless scumbucket
with all the cultural awareness and dignity of a toaster oven.
Letter Part 2 has arrived, an old-school lightning bolt from above that
has come without fanfare, Decisions, or pro wrestling-style player intros.
James's "essay," published on Sports Illustrated's website today, ushers
in a new era of Cavs basketball, and, on a much larger scale, serves as an enormous
boost for the city of Cleveland in too many ways to count.
Stunned is the operative word right
now. Not elated, just a feeling of fullness and possibility, for both the team
and for Northeast Ohio. James is the best
basketball player on the planet, but much more importantly he can also stand as
a symbol for prosperity and change. Maybe the guy many thought was a heartless mercenary has grown up. And maybe the city he's coming back to will continue to evolve
right along with him.