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LeBron James.

Why LeBron James needed the Cleveland Cavaliers to define his career

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LeBron James, the self-proclaimed kid from Akron, delivered on his promise of bringing a championship to his hometown of Cleveland last season in stunning fashion.

Since the day he was drafted by the Cavaliers with the number one pick in 2003, he made it his mission to end the city's drought for a title and after becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the finals, the mission was accomplished.

However, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, if LeBron had actually got his wish, he may never have represented his hometown team.

In the season before he was drafted by the Wine and Gold, LBJ was invited to attend several Cleveland games as a guest of the franchise.

The organisation simply wanted to wine and dine the future superstar - who was due to make the immediate jump from high school to the NBA -and to give him a feel for what it was like being in the arena on a regular basis.

Per Windhorst, he certainly got a feel for it and didn't like what he saw. LeBron apparently had a rather dim view of the Cavaliers in the years leading up to the 2003 draft.

"When James was a teenager, he started attending games at the arena, and he couldn’t believe how bad the Cavs were, how empty the arena often was, with its bright blue seats seeming like a neon sign of disinterest," Windhorst said.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

"During his senior year of high school, he went to several games, was given courtside seats and visited the locker room. His thought was pretty clear after he watched that 17-win team [in the 2002-03 campaign] with the lowest attendance in the league: They were awful, and he didn’t want to be a part of it."

In truth, nobody wanted to be a part of that Cavs team, they really were a mess.

If the King had his way, things could've turned out so differently. It's almost surreal to think about what his career would've been like away from Cleveland.

He has become the most scrutinised player in the league's history, would that have been the case if he didn't have the pressure of delivering success for his hometown team?

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

As an 18-year-old coming into the league, to place the future of an entire franchise on his back was unfair, even if he was dubbed as "The Chosen One".

The reality is, Cleveland's championship win last year defined James' legacy and he will be the first to tell us that he's glad things worked out as they did.

But he may have had less pressure had he not landed in Ohio and played in front of an expectant city every night. The Cavs may have stayed in mediocrity and never seen any joy on the court.

Sometimes, though, things just play out as they're supposed to and King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were a match made in heaven.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

Sure, the departure to the Miami Heat and the uproar from that can never be forgotten and definitely soured things for the four-time MVP, but he would hope that can be put to bed after lifting the Larry O'Brien trophy.

Regardless of what team LeBron ended up on, he would always have gone on to become a future Hall of Famer due to his undeniable talent. But his latest achievement has put him firmly in the conversation amongst the greatest of all time.

Some consider the feat to be the greatest individual accomplishment in the NBA and James' post-game reaction as he screamed, "Cleveland, this is for you!" gave him a feeling that no other team could have.

He won two championships in Miami, but he still wasn't satisfied with that and knew that he didn't want to end his career without bringing that same feeling to Northeast Ohio and his people.

New York Knicks v Cleveland Cavaliers

The 12-time All-Star may not have wanted to play in Cleveland, but he will have no regrets about it now.

Topics:
NBA
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James

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