LeBron James fist pumping. (Courtesy of Business Insider)

Child of the 80s

If you haven’t noticed, Matthew McConaughey is a spokesperson for Lincoln Motor Company. There is a slew of fascinating and sometimes bewildering commercials featuring the Academy Award winner using his southern drawl and charisma to try and get us to believe he drives a Lincoln. I’m sure he owns one, but I’m not sold he drives one. Tangent aside (we love tangents at Popcorn & Cleats), in the very first commercial directed by Drive helmer Nicolas Winding Refn, McConaughey states, “Sometimes you gotta go back to move forward.” It’s an acute recollection as McConaughey scours the city landscape while driving his Lincoln MKC, making us believe he is looking for something. “And I don’t mean go back to reminisce or chase ghosts — I mean go back to see where you came from, where you been, how you got here,” continues the McConaisance (I know it’s over, but God did he reinvent himself. We should all be taking notes). “See where you’re goin’. I know there are those who say you can’t go back. Yes, you can. You just have to look in the right place.”

The prodigal son aka LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and delivered the state of Ohio a championship last season. James sure went back to his past. He tasted the fruits in Miami winning two rings with the Heat and forming a super friendship with Dwayne Wade everyone wished they had. Miami will always be a complex period for LeBron and the Cleveland, Akron communities. The state of Ohio looked on as James tore through the NBA, knowing full well that he could be reaping the destruction for them. People were angry; Dan Gilbert wrote a scathing fateful letter and bridges burned until the Chosen One came back. Everyone was in love with James again. The ring closed the gaping wound.

The haters of this NBA season will tell you that last season was the perfect ending to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors rivalry. James won a ring for The Land, woo-hoo, now let’s move on. Let’s give someone else a chance for glory, but why? The series is tied 1–1, we are on pace for the rubber match. It is as exciting as it can get. Two teams meeting three straight times in the finals has never happened. Oh, and one of the top-5 players in the world, KEVIN FREAKING DURANT AKA THE SLIM REAPER (but don’t call him this) AKA THE DURANTULA (Knowing Durant, he probably doesn’t like this name either) is now on the losing team. It’s epic, so epic I am thinking about taking a vacation during the finals so that I can enrapture myself in every fucking second of it.

Ok. I think you get the correlation. James moved back to Akron where he grew up to go forward in winning a ring for the Cavs. Nothing new here, we heard this story before. James doesn’t have to win another ring to be beloved in The Land. James will never have to buy another drink or meal in Cleveland for the rest of his life. So where is the motivation?

James was born in 1984, the same decade as yours truly. I am not a fan of the 1980s. I never got into the music; I thought everyone had bad hair and people that truly grew up in the 80s seem way too infatuated by it, believing it to be the holy grail of decades. These are the people that try to convince me that The Goonies is a good movie, and just a nostalgic piece of their childhood. Through recent developments, I think it’s safe to say James might be showing his bias for the decade that brought him into this world. Throw the winning a ring for The Land crap out of the window, James is a winning a ring for the 80s this year, the decade that raised him. James is looking back into his formative years to move forward in winning yet another title over Durantula, the Splash Brothers, and Sir Punches Nuts.

I know what your thinking. I have gone on enough tangents, and honestly, I’m rambling and nothing makes sense. I’m trying to make filet mignon out of mince meat, and I can’t fucking do it. Maybe I’m grasping at straws here (Anyone got any other clichés? Your not supposed to use them in journalism, but I love them like a fat kid loves cake. Whoops. Sorry.) So what I am trying to say is James is looking back into the 80s to move forward in winning a ring this year. Here’s the proof.

First, it was the short shorts. What made LeBron start wearing the short shorts in practice? Could it be that it makes him run faster, like a swimmer shaving his legs? Maybe. Could it be that he wants everyone to stare at his muscular legs? Quite possibly. Or could it be that he is looking into the past to figure out his future? Ding. Ding. We have a winner. The short shorts were the shorts of choice in the early 80s, (they made everyone uncomfortable, yet NBA audiences just didn’t realize it yet) until Michael Jordan didn’t want a wedgie every time he dunked over everyone and decided to lengthen things up. The craze caught on with the Cavs, and everyone is wearing short shorts, even last regular season day signing Dhantay Jones. Is LeBron trolling Jordan with the shorts? Probably, because even though McConaughey says “not to chase ghosts,” LeBron is entirely chasing Jordan’s ghost, but again this is beside the point.

Point two is that there is an exercise machine that is all the craze in the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. The 1981 born VersaClimber, a vertical all-body exercise machine that hasn’t seem prevalent in years until James started sharing posts of him using the device in 2012 on Instagram, with a post after he won his last championship claiming he was back with his “girlfriend.” Now, following the King’s lead, everyone on the Cavs’ roster is using the so-called “bad word.” If King James doesn’t suit your fancy as a spokesperson for the machine, Lady Gaga claims the VersaClimber gave her the energy to give one of the best halftime performances in recent years at the Super Bowl.

So, LeBron is looking to the past with wearing short shorts and using the 1980s built mega exercise machine to guide him to a ring. We have learned that when LeBron pulls a McConnaughey and looks at his past, it impacts his future. If you ask me, the same thing is happening right before our very eyes. The Cavs are 9–0 and steamrolling to the finals.