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Sports


What would it take for Cleveland and LeBron to patch things up?
Think about it in terms of repairing a marriage
Story by BRIAN BULL


 
LeBron James -- an Akron native -- blindsided Northeast Ohio when he left for Miami four years ago. Are fans ready to forgive?
Courtesy of File photo
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It seems that all the sports world is anxiously waiting to hear whether LeBron James will rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers. If so, can he win back those bitter fans who resent his leaving four years ago? For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN's Brian Bull spoke to a marriage counselor to see what it would take to rebuild the relationship.

LISTEN: Patching things up

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First, the break-up -- carried live on ESPN four years ago:

“This is very tough.  Uh, and this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach, and join the Miami Heat.”

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote a scathing open letter, telling fans that they didn’t deserve “this kind of cowardly betrayal.” Four years and countless burned jerseys later, LeBron James is weighing a return to Cleveland. 

Local marriage counselor Warren Salkin says the Akron native is going to have to win back the public’s trust.

“In terms of what happened four years ago, I think the community felt incredibly betrayed, in the way that a partner would in a personal relationship because it seemingly came out of the blue.”

Salkin says in turn, Cleveland has to grant forgiveness. And that could happen if proper amends are made.

“I would assume all would be forgiven with an appearance in the playoffs, with the recognition that he has returned and has strengthened our team, and with obviously Cleveland in a big upswing nationally at this point, that would be a very timely thing and so I am hoping he does it!”

So LeBron, if you’re listening: Ditch the flowers and expensive dinner.  Cleveland wants a Larry O’Brien Championship trophy. 

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