A Return to Wade County

Posted by C.L. Anthony on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 with No comments
Home:  a familiar or usual setting :  congenial environment; also:  the focus of one's domestic attention

There's been much talk of one retuning home in basketball circles.  What could have caused all of that white noise?  The drive to win NBA Championship has seemingly been replaced by urges to return "home", to a place of familiarity, a place of comfort and peace of mind as it is often stated that home is where the heart is.  I will not fault one for wanting to return home....even if he did morph into a false prophet.  I will however honor one who decided to remain home.......a home that he built, a home that's he's protected for the last 11 seasons, a home that he will one day be immortalized in.  

Much respect goes to the one that didn't run away from the challenge but who embraced the challenge of the struggle that will once more turn into the gluttony of euphoric victory.  2013, 2012, and the memorable 2006 NBA Finals were his canvas as he slashed, shot, and Euro Stepped his way to 3 NBA Championships all the while never being the highest paid player on his respective teams.  For him it wasn't about the size of one's salary, the amount of commercials, or the desire to be the first billionaire athlete.  It was simply about winning NBA titles, a feeling that was felt in only his 3rd year  in the league and again as his body began to slowly fail him as his career arc began its downward spiral.  

His constant sacrifice can't be ignored, the drive for rings or the leadership that defined a generation.  Nothing was given to him but much was earned; victories, accolades, rings, and finally the utmost respect from NBA fans all around the world.  Those who've witnessed his game mature from the point of a shy kid with no chance of hitting an open jumper to a seasoned guard with a deadly mid-range have been in for a treat of pure pleasure since the year of 2003.  A kid who was thrust in the limelight, fatherhood, and growing pains all too soon.  There were many detractors along the way, bad business deals, a public, ugly divorce, and a child born out of wedlock but despite it all, the kid matured, evolved into perhaps the third greatest shooting guard of all time.....only behind the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.  

It was a career that the greatest fan could not have envisioned, one full of ups and downs but also the orgasmic high of reaching the elusive mountaintop not one, not two, but three incredible times.  That orgasmic feeling was magnified a thousandfold when one understands that you have to crawl before you walk, sacrifice before the fruits of labor can be truly enjoyed.  The lesson of it all is to always fight the good fight but understand that there's times when one has to walk through the fire to reach the mountain top.  Perhaps the biggest sacrifice of all was stepping aside and letting the false prophet run his house, take his city, become the franchise and run away when the end seemed near.  Adverse situations reveals the truth in man and once the NBA Finals were decided, the fake revealed themselves and from the mirage of apparent ashes left in the fake's wake, a true king was revealed.  The Once and Future King of a franchise, reclaimed his home, his city, his house.   

"Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today."

The quote above was supposed to speak volumes but instead it validated what was already known, suspected for year.  Leaders aren't made, they are born and leaders show heart, speak truth, and demonstrate unselfish acts in times when lesser men display cowardice.  There are times when images, pictures speak more loudly than any voice, resonate more than any text trying to convey a sad tale of missing home.  Pictures can be etched in one's mind forever, burnt into one's fabric, engulfed by one's soul and it was this picture that reminded me what home for one truly was.......

With my love & respect