The inside story of LeBron James's return and ultimate triumph in Cleveland.
What really happened when LeBron James stunned the NBA by leaving a potential dynasty in Miami to come home to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers? How did the Cavs use secret meetings to put together the deal to add star Kevin Love? Who really made the controversial decision to fire coach David Blatt when the team was in first place? Where did the greatest comeback in NBA history truly begin-and end?
RETURN OF THE KING takes you onto the private planes, inside the locker-room conversations, and into the middle of the intense huddles where one of the greatest stories in basketball history took place, resulting in the Cavs winning the 2016 NBA title after trailing the Golden State Warriors three games to one.
You'll hear from all the characters involved: the players, the executives, the agents, and the owners as they reveal stories never before told. Get the background on all the controversies, the rivalries, and the bad blood from two reporters who were there for every day, plot twist, and social media snafu as they take you through the fascinating ride that culminated in a heart-stopping Game Seven.
Two award-winning sports journalists give an in-depth look at how a team and a city were rebuilt around superstar LeBron James.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers drew the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft, an entire city buzzed with excitement. After all, how often does a LeBron James come along? Especially for Cleveland, a midmarket Rust Belt city without a sports championship in forty years. Especially for the Cavaliers, a long-struggling team that had never reached the NBA finals.
Soon, everyone had something riding on LeBron—billionaire team owner Dan Gilbert looking for a return on his investment . . . teammates eager for a championship ring . . . the league in need of the next Michael Jordan to promote . . . the shoe company with its multimillion-dollar endorsement deal . . . even popcorn vendors in the stands of Quicken Loans Arena and servers waiting restaurant tables in a downtown that now booms every game night.
Terry Pluto and Brian Windhorst tell the converging stories of a struggling franchise that had to get worse in order to get better and a highly touted teenage phenom, the local kid who became their future.
This book will fascinate any basketball fan who wants the inside story of how LeBron James became the young superstar shouldering the weight of an entire NBA franchise. Chock full of facts and analysis.
But how did they get there? It was a roller-coaster ride from tragedy to triumph, one that Jason Lloyd, a longtime Northeast Ohio resident turned reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal, got to see firsthand. He was witness to the Blueprint, as he calls it, which the Cavs put together to win their star player back from Miami and build a team that could win the ultimate championship. It incorporated several losing seasons, some highrisk draft picks, and an entirely new understanding of how to build a championship team.
The best part of the plan is that it worked, culminating in the most exciting Finals series in NBA history. And, most important, the end of the Cleveland Curse. Jason Lloyd, a true insider, tells the story of how the NBA really works, and how everyone—from the front office to the stars on the court to the new generation of coaches—worked together to create an unforgettable winning team. The Blueprint is an unputdownable, must-have book for every LeBron, Cavs, and NBA fan.
Golden is the first book to provide an all-access look at Steph Curry and the team that has fueled Dub Nation—by longtime Warriors beat reporter and Bay Area News Group sports columnist Marcus Thompson, the go-to expert on all things Golden State.
A lifelong Warriors fan turned insider Thompson is uniquely qualified to tell the definitive story of a singular talent, pulling back the curtain on the crazy work ethic and on-court intensity that make Curry great—and the emphasis on family and faith that keeps him grounded.
Combining the competitive grit and fun-loving spirit of his mother with the mild demeanor, easy charm, and sharp shooting of his father, former NBA player Dell Curry, Steph Curry derives support and strength from his close-knit kin and his commitment to Christianity. This hard-working, wholesome image however is both a blessing and curse in a League of big personalities. Thompson unravels the complicated underpinnings of the Steph Curry hate with a nuanced analysis of how class and complexion come into play when a child with an NBA pedigree becomes the face of a sport traditionally honed on inner-city black top and dominated by the less privileged.
With unprecedented access, Thompson draws from exclusive interviews with Steph Curry, his family, his teammates, Coach Steve Kerr, and the Warriors owners to bring readers inside the locker room and courtside with this remarkable athlete and man.
"If I had a chance to return to Cleveland, and those fans welcomed me back, that’d be a great story." —LeBron James in 2010, days after "The Decision"
In 2010, when LeBron James announced to the world that he was leaving for Miami, he broke the collective heart of his native city and destroyed the hopes of an entire tortured generation.
As LeBron headed south, unofficial spokesman Scott Raab sent him off with a middle-finger salute of his own—a deliciously obscene aria of sports fandom, Jewishness, and weight gain that became infamous as The Whore of Akron.
Four years—and two NBA championships later—LeBron came home to the Rust Belt faithful who had vilified him mercilessly, none more so than Raab. You’re Welcome, Cleveland is the story of both LeBron’s and Scott’s redemption as they pursue the one thing they crave more than anything in life—an NBA title for the city that made them men.
LeBron is back. So is Scott Raab. It’s a great story.
You’re Welcome, Cleveland.
NBA superstars push as close to perfection as we're likely to see, but they are few and far between. The farther you get from the league's top echelon of talent, the more it's up to the players—and their teams—to develop and utilize their strengths while diminishing and masking their weaknesses as much as possible. There are no perfect basketball players, but there are plenty of perfected ones, who start with a basis of skill and physical ability and then are refined further and further in order to move closer and closer to their absolute potential.
In Chasing Perfection, national sportswriter Andy Glockner reveals that, though the concept of player improvement is as old as basketball itself, the current era of Big Data analytics in the NBA is transforming that process more quickly and aggressively than anything we have seen before. Players are learning more and more about themselves through video and data visualization, seeing how things like diet and sleep can impact their performance, and learning how having healthy joints and role-specific workout plans are lengthening and improving their careers. Teams are internalizing the same lessons, as well as figuring out how to better implement optimal on-court strategies, how to refine their approaches to player acquisition and how to gauge the varying values and success rates of different, crucial team-building strategies.
It's an absolutely fascinating time to be a fan, as the marriage of basketball and technology is bringing two of our most popular and competitive worlds together in compelling fashion. Using the 2014–15 NBA season as a prism to explore this mesh of sport and science, Glockner offers detailed perspective from NBA players, coaches, team management, and media, offering a comprehensive insider's view of how analytics are shaping the basketball we watch, and how those who are lagging behind in the technology race already are feeling the competitive hit.
Fans felt gut-punched in 2010 when local hero and MVP LeBron James announced he was leaving the Cavaliers and Northeast Ohio for Miami. The Cavs nose-dived in the standings and struggled to recover.
Then, in June 2014, LeBron announced he was coming home. And he had a mission: Lead the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals and give Cleveland its first championship in 52 years.
But would LeBron’s return be enough to restore his reputation, revive the franchise, and reward long-suffering Cleveland fans?
Award-winning sportswriter Terry Pluto tells how it all happened.
How LeBron won back fans with a heartfelt message — and savvy PR . . .
How the Cavs’ front office crafted a championship-caliber team with a big three of James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love and a bench stocked not only with talent but character and chemistry . . .
How LeBron’s added experience from four seasons and two titles in Miami prepared him for this second chance in Cleveland . . .
How the Cavaliers reached the 2016 NBA Finals to face a Golden State Warriors team, led by MVP Stephen Curry, that had just set an NBA record for wins and had vanquished the Cavs in the Finals the previous season . . .
How LeBron and the Cavs, down a historically hopeless three games to one, sparked an unprecedented come-from-behind surge (symbolized by LeBron’s superhuman block in Game 7) to stun Golden State and bring home the NBA Championship . . .
And how the ecstatic fans joined the team in a joyful celebration that brought more than a million people together in downtown Cleveland.
Pluto tells it all with insightful analysis, extensive front-office details, and a deep empathy for the fans.