The HEAT Beat with Josh Friedman

 

Goodbye LeBron....and thank you.

The shock won't ebb for a while. 

Heat fans hearing that LeBron James is following his heart and going home to Cleveland are full of emotions as they go through their day in a bit of a trance.  The guess here is work has come to a screeching halt in offices all over south Florida as all that is being talked about is LeBron leaving.

What is being felt by Heat fans?  Anger? Sure.  Disappointment? Absolutely.  Shock?  No doubt. But I feel one overriding emotion as I absorb this news:

Gratitude.

Thank you.  Thank you LeBron James.

Thank you for elevating the Miami Heat to incredible inconceivable heights during your four year tenure here.  Two NBA titles.  Four straight finals appearances.  Two regular season MVPs.  Two finals MVPs.  A 27 game win streak, second longest in NBA history.  Nightly highlight reel dunks that became a staple on Sportcenter's Top Ten Plays.

Thank you LeBron James for thrills previously only reserved for Dwyane Wade.  Thank you for adrenaline sweeping through the AAA as your name was the first one announced when the lineups were called out by Michael Biamonte.  Thank you for the the clutch three point shots and the generous passes you made, often giving up a good shot so a teammate could make a better shot.

Thank you LeBron James for ratcheting up expectations so high that merely getting to the finals without coming home with the Larry O'Brien trophy in tow simply wasn't good enough.

Thank you LeBron James.  As a reporter, to have the luck to witness an all time great player in his prime night in and night out and cover you before and after games and at practices is something I'll tell to my children. 

Sure it hurts, Heat fans.  But this is a man who is following his heart to return to his home in order to bring a title to an area that hasn't hoisted a championship trophy in any sport in half a century.  How can you hold a grudge against a man for wanting to fulfill that mission?

I can't and I won't.

There will be ensuing blogs to discuss the future of the Heat following this decision.  But this blog is to just say one message.

Thank you, LeBron James.