That’s the theme of the new Nike ad released today in anticipation of LeBron James‘ first game back as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The riveting two minute commercial features the city of Cleveland coming together as one and joining in the Cavaliers huddle to prepare for the start of something special. It shows James being introduced at Quicken Loans Arena, followed by a flood of fans gathering to embrace James and the Cavs, a powerful metaphor for the events of this offseason.
The sports world can clearly see the way that James’ return would impact the team on the floor, but this advertisement encapsulates the spirit of Cleveland and the feeling of unity that swept over the city when LeBron announced he would be returning to his home.
For Cleveland, this ordeal has always been about much more than basketball.
It’s about the city’s native son accepting and embracing a fan base that anointed him king of the city. It’s about James saying that this is where he wants to be, where he wants to win championships, and that the fans here deserve it, that they deserve him.
It’s about validation.
It’s about forgiveness and understanding that we all make mistakes and most of us have at one point or another, said to ourselves “man, I gotta get out of Cleveland.” It’s about the fact that he left the sunny shores of Miami to come play under the gray skies of Cleveland, Ohio, a place that means so much to so many people, LeBron included.
It’s about a royal homecoming, about finally being able to embrace someone who we were forced to hate for the past four years.
But above all that, it’s about a city feeling a sense of pride that has been glaringly absent in recent years.
It’s about Cleveland, and it’s about time.