By now you’ve all heard that the biggest star in the NBA—and one of the biggest stars in all of sports—made an unprecedented announcement last Friday: LeBron James is leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This move is remarkable for many reasons. For one thing, the biggest star in a sport doesn’t often change teams. For another, he doesn’t usually return to his original team in his home state—especially when he burned every bridge leading out of town with napalm when he left.
When James made “The Decision” to leave Cleveland in a nationally televised spectacle in the summer of 2010 it was nigh impossible to imagine he’d ever return to the Cavaliers, and even more difficult to think they (or the city) would ever want him back. The kid from Akron had publicly shamed the most forlorn sports fans in America. He took his talents to the sunny shores of Miami’s South Beach, leaving his fellow Ohioans wallowing in their sorrows and frigid winters. To return, especially to be welcomed back with jubilance, took something remarkable, something more than a signed contract and a press conference.
And James did it. In one of the most poignant communications from an athlete I’ve ever read he made things right. We can learn some important lessons from how James handled this transition.
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