**This is what happens when you have a lack of sleep, sip on some libation, and have delusions of grandeur all the time. In the next 12-18 hours you're going to read everything from "I TOLD YOU SO's" to "TRAITOR" to choreographed jeers to enhanced security and beyond...but to be real, this is going to be nothing more than a bunch of interactions between LeBron James and his closest friends. You only get to come back home for the first time once, and this is how I envision it happening...**
(LeBron arrives at his palatial establishment in Bath Township, Ohio directly from the Miami charter flight from Detroit. The man is bombed out and depleted after leading his team to an easy victory over the maligned Detroit Pistons. His mother, Gloria James, is at his home and is anxiously awaiting his son's arrival...)
(Keys jiggling and the front door is unlocked, LeBron walks into his home...)
Gloria James: LeBron? Is that you?
LeBron James: Yeah mom, its me. I'm home.
Gloria: Do you want me to fix you something to eat?
LeBron: Mama, you know you don't cook. That's why we got chefs in the house 24/7. I'm going to hit the sack, got to get up early and see some folks before the game tomorrow.
Gloria: Alright son, goodnight. Get some rest.
(Gloria gives her son a kiss on the cheek, and both go to respective quarters.)
(Gloria walks downstairs to find her son eating some Corn Pops and is fully dressed in a non-attention getting Nike outfit. He's also on his laptop reading a blog called "Ed The Sports Fan"...okay, I made that up.)
Gloria: Morning son, figured you'd sleep in a little longer. Why didn't you wait up for me to cook you breakfast?
(LeBron sighs loudly...)
LeBron: Mom, you know you don't cook. Plus, I didn't want to burden the chef. These Corn Pops will get you right! Ha-haaaaaa! Besides, I'm going to get my haircut from Rico at the shop.
Gloria: Okay...ummm, baby? Can we talk about the game tonight?
LeBron: Yes mom, we will. Later though...gotta go.
(LeBron leaves the palatial James estate)
(LeBron arrives at "Blades of Steel" barbershop in Northside Akron. The barbershop is fairly empty, except for one barber named "Rico", and an older gentlemen named Clarence, sits in a chair sipping coffee with an egregiously large grey-haired beard.
Rico: My man! Come on in here in sit down, its been a long time! And you're late!
LeBron: Just got in from Detroit, cut me some slack!
(Clarence grumbles random cuss words under his breath loudly enough so everyone can hear him)
LeBron: Good morning Clarence...
Clarence: (random grumbling)
Rico: Don't mind him, he's just getting to his coffee. Anyway, what would you like me to do with this?
LeBron: Man...make a miracle happen and bring my hairline back like '03.
(Everyone laughs accept for Clarence who mutters cuss words under his breath, Rico cuts on the clippers and begins cutting LeBron's hair)
Rico: It's a big game tonight, the whole city's been talking about it. You ready?
LeBron: Yeah, I'm ready. Just ready to get done with the game and get on about my business.
Rico: Its a shame how everything played out, but know that here at Blades of Steel, you're always welcome.
(Clarence grumbles loudly)
LeBron: Okay, that's enough. Clarence, what's up man? Speak whats on your mind if you feel some kinda way.
(Clarence takes a long sip of coffee...and pauses for a moment. Almost to measure himself before speaking...)
Clarence: You know...I can remember seeing you over at the park, playing with the big kids and holding your own. I can remember how the town revered you and spoke of all the good that you were bringing to this town. You made us proud at one point in time, but now...now you're too good to just come home. You never came into the barbershop at 9 o'clock, always at noon. The barbershop would be buzzing when you came in, jokes flying...especially about that hairline of yours. We've always known you to be one of us, and now...its like we don't even know you.
(LeBron looks like he wants to say something, but pauses...)
LeBron: You wouldn't understand old man...you just don't understand.
Clarence: I understand all I need to know. Tell your mother Mr. C said hello.
(Clarence leaves the barbershop, muttering and cussing)
Rico: Don't worry about Clarence, he's just getting old. So ummm, Bron...you got any extra tickets for the game tonight?
LeBron: Yeah, about that...
(After Rico tries his best to save LeBron's hairline, they dap each other up and LeBron exits. There are now people outside the barbershop, as word has gotten around that he was here. The scene is reminiscent of Alonzo entering/leaving the hood on Training Day. A few head nods here and there, but otherwise a lot of silence and watching. LeBron gets into his car and goes home.)
(LeBron enters the house, Gloria is in the living room watching reruns of Real Housewives of Atlanta.)
LeBron: Hey mom, I'm back.
Gloria: Hey son! That's a nice haircut, Rico always does a good job!
LeBron: Mr. C said hello too.
Gloria: Did he? He's such a sweetheart, I'll have to speak to him at church on Sunday. You want me to fix you something to eat?
LeBron: Mom, you know you don't cook. I asked Mav (Maverick Carter) pick me up some McDonald's before he comes by later on. I'm going upstairs to take a nap.
Gloria: Okay son, get some rest.
(LeBron heads upstairs while Gloria cackles at the television)
(The doorbell rings and Maverick Carter arrives at the palatial James estate carrying about 4 bags of McDonald's.)
Gloria: Mav! Come on in!
Maverick: Thanks Miss Gloria, I brought you that strawberry milkshake you always liked too.
Gloria: You're too kind, thank you!
Maverick: Is LeBron up?
Gloria: I'm not sure, let me check....LEBRONNNNNNNN!!!
LeBron: Yeah! Mav, come on upstairs!
(Maverick brings the food upstairs as James is watching highlights of his game on SportsCenter)
LeBron: What's going on Mav! (LeBron and Maverick then go into a 17-step choreographed handshake/dap-a-thon)
Maverick: Can't call it, here's the food man. It came up to about $30.
LeBron: You know I'm good for it, I'll get you back. I gotta hit the ATM.
Maverick: Yeah...aight. So, anyway man, I just got off the phone with the marketing folks at Nike. They said they're ready to roll out the 2011 campaign with you, Tiger Woods, and Mike Vick as something they're calling, "Redemption."
LeBron: Word? That sounds cool.
Maverick: Yeah man, supposed to be huge. Should bring in big-time cash for the team, as in...you and me, and it might help you grow in China!
Maverick: Man, its good to have you home. You have no idea how much hell I've been going through being back here. Folks talking crazy, acting any kind of way, man you know this old lady in a Buick tried to run me over yesterday? For no reason! You know what I realized though? This town is just full of haters man. They don't have anything else to do with their lives, and they just want to hate on us man, for all we've done for this community, this city, and everyone involved.
(LeBron kinda gives Maverick a side eye as Maverick's phone rings. LeBron continues to devour his burgers and fries and begins to think about what Clarence said to him at the barbershop...)
Maverick: Yo, I gotta roll. Powerade wants to talk about changing the name of the brand to LeBronade!
LeBron: Okay cool man, see you later on.
(Maverick scatters off, and LeBron lays back down on his bed and goes back to sleep.)
(LeBron has now changed clothes again, he's in classic business attire except instead of wearing a suit jacket he's wearing an egregiously stylish cardigan sweater. LeBron comes downstairs to see his mother cooking something on the stove.)
LeBron: Mom, I'm headed to the game...what are you doing?
Gloria: I'm cooking you something to eat, you're not leaving here without eating some home cooked food!
LeBron: But Mom...
Gloria: I wasn't asking...you will take this food and like it!
(Gloria seems to wipe her face as if she's been crying...)
LeBron: Mom, you okay?
Gloria: Yes, I'm fine. I know you have to go, but here take this with you.
(Gloria hands her son a grilled cheese and fried bologna sandwich.)
LeBron: MOM! You haven't made one of these since I was little! What made you want to make this?
Gloria: Hush son...get out of here. Go have fun at the game tonight, and be safe.
LeBron: Yes ma'am, I will.
Gloria: Son...I want to tell you something. As long as you live, you will always be my son. You represent me and the rest of your family and the folks that helped me raise you. Do you understand me?
(LeBron takes a bite of the sandwich and starts to move towards the door)
LeBron: Yeah Mom, I understand. I'm running late, I gotta go. Love you!
Gloria: I love you too son...I love you too.
(LeBron leaves out and heads to Quicken Loans Arena. Gloria is still in the kitchen, and lights a cigarette. With a worried look on her face, she wipes her face and cleans up.)
(LeBron pulls his vehicle into the visitor's player entrance of the stadium. He seems lost...a security guard is close by.)
LeBron: Am I cool parking the car there.
LeBron: I've never come into the building this way before, which way do I go?
Guard: Go down the hall, take a left, and the visitor's locker room will be on your left.
LeBron: Ok, thanks!
Guard: Hey LeBron?
(The guard gives LeBron the middle finger. LeBron looks puzzled and walks away.)
(Miami Heat head coach Erik Spolestra has just given out his final words of encouragement before he sends his Heat team onto the floor. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and LeBron James are all sitting next to each other talking before they go to warm up.)
Chris Bosh: Man, this new CD goes hard! You heard this yet?
Dwyane Wade: What are you listening to?
Chris Bosh: Its this new Nicki Minaj! Man, she's fine and she can rap? Amazing! She's so lyrical with it.
(Dwyane and LeBron shake their head in disbelief. Chris walks away to go tell the rookies on the squad about the album.)
Dwyane: You ready Bron?
LeBron: Ready as I'll ever be.
Dwyane: Listen, the beginning of the season hasn't been easy on us. This has been our training camp, we're going to get this figured out. Just remember, I got your back. We're a team LeBron, we can do this if we fight for each other.
LeBron: I gotcha fam, no worries.
Dwyane: Aight man, I'll see you on the court in a few.
(Dwyane walks off, and the rest of team slowly starts to trickle out.)
(LeBron just sits there, thinking and pondering...remembering the words of his barber, and of Clarence. Remembering the look of hurt on Clarence's face. Remembering the monster that LeBron had created in his best friend Maverick, and remembering how fun and genuine he used to be. Then he thought about the greatest sandwich he ever ate, the one his mother just made him hours ago. LeBron gets up and throws his towel across the room in frustration, kicking chairs and starts cussing real loud. The LeBron just stands there, looking at a photo of his kids in his locker room, a picture of him and his mother, a picture of his high school teammates, and he sits there quiet for a minute or two. The Cleveland ball boy comes sprinting into the locker room, wearing LeBron's newest pair of Nike's.)
Ballboy: LeBron, its time for you to come out!
LeBron: Ok, I'm ready.
(The ballboy just looks up at him, almost two feet shorter than LeBron. LeBron looks back at him, and rubs his head. With a smile, he walks towards the tunnel onto the court...)
(The Q is jam-packed, security is everywhere. The fans are booing, cackling, and yelling all sorts of obscenities at LeBron's direction. LeBron just sits on the bench as if nothing is happening as the rest of his team is announced...)
Announcer: At guard...#3...from Marquette...Dwayne Wade.
Announcer: ...and at forward...#6...from St. Vincent St. Mary's High School...LeBron James.
(Boos, children screaming, lightbulbs flashing, hissing, laughing, and total anarchy is happening in the stands. LeBron gets up, and instead of dapping up his teammates, he walks towards the announcer's table and takes the mic from him.)
(LeBron almost looks shocked, like he can't believe he just took the mic. The crowd is still in a frenzy, but even they can't believe what he just did. LeBron gathers himself and basks in the atmosphere for about 10 seconds...)
(LeBron just drops the mic, and he walks to his teammates and leads them in a chant. LeBron breaks the huddle, walks towards the scorer's table to do his customary talcum powder routine, but then thinks twice and decides not to do it. LeBron takes his spot in the middle of the court and daps up everyone on the Cleveland roster. Varejao looks happy to see him, while Boobie Gibson rejects his dap altogether. LeBron finds Mo Williams and they share in a quick handshake/hug.)
LeBron: You know we gotta kick that ass tonight right?
Mo: Good luck with that. Good seeing you homie.
LeBron: Likewise, let's link up after the game.
Mo: You got it Bron.
(The ball is tipped, and the game is played.)
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!