Former Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James made an offhand remark on Sunday, saying that he saved the franchise when he came into the NBA as a teenager.
The comment came when a reporter asked him about the heavy workload he has been carrying for his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was 18 years old saving a franchise,” said James.
When James was drafted by the Cavs as the top pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, they were a laughingstock. The days of Mark Price and Brad Daugherty were long gone, and the team, not to mention the city, needed a pick-me-up.
James immediately became the crown jewel of Cleveland sports, and he unexpectedly took the Cavs to the 2007 NBA Finals and had them contending for a title in the following seasons.
He unceremoniously left to join the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010, and not surprisingly, the Cavs went into the basement without him.
But when the Akron, Ohio native returned in 2014, the Cavs went to the championship series every season until he departed again in 2018. He delivered the franchise its first title in 2016.
This season, he has been playing some of the best ball of his career, although it has not been enough to save the Lakers, who are seriously underperforming.
The Cavs are currently going through another resurrection thanks to the efforts of rising stars Darius Garland and Evan Mobley.
But what James did to single-handedly lift the Cavs out of the gutter and towards the pinnacle of pro basketball will surely never be forgotten by the inhabitants of Ohio.