LeBron James 'I'm Coming Home' Analysis


LeBron James, a National Basketball Association (NBA) all-star, known for his hard work, leadership, and genuine heart, delivered a speech on July 11, 2014, to his fans about why he is coming home to Cleveland to play basketball. The people of Cleveland were heartbroken when he left to go play in Miami, but he took this time to explain why he is coming home and that he wants to make it up to them--and do the right thing--because Cleveland deserves it. By describing his growth as a man and a basketball player using a simile, contrasting the difference between Cleveland and Miami, and persuading his audience that he is making the right decision for himself with rhetorical questions, James wants to convince his fans that he is going to make up for the time he left and that he realizes what home means to him now. 

First, LeBron James uses a simile to describe what leaving Cleveland to go to Miami did for him and how it made him feel. In paragraph two of his essay, he says, “Miami, for me, has been almost like a college for other kids.” He explains to his fans that it was like his first time truly away from home and that it turned him into the man and basketball player that he is today. By using a simile, James elaborates on the fact that he grew up and became better--in many ways--because of his experience in Miami, and that he is very grateful for the opportunity. He knows that playing in Miami was a very good thing for him, so he uses the simile as an explanation of how it helped him, but he wants to go back to his hometown and make his “relationship with Northeast Ohio” even stronger. Basketball fans and the people of Cleveland will be able to understand that although he hurt them when he left Cleveland the first time, he understands how much his hometown means to him now; he’s ready to make it better because he grew as a man and a basketball player.

In paragraph six, LeBron James contrasts the difference between Cleveland and Miami to give basketball fans and the people of Cleveland a reason as to why he is going home and what he plans to do. In his essay about why he’s going home to Cleveland, he states, “I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time.” He tells the basketball fans that he accepts the challenge and will bring pride--and a trophy--to Northeastern Ohio. By contrasting Cleveland’s and Miami’s feelings over NBA championships, LeBron James goes on to say why he wants to go back and play for Cleveland, and what was right for him and made him happy. He knows that the people of Cleveland were hurt when he left for Miami, but he wants to come back and make it right; he uses contrast to say that he wants to give them a championship and the feeling that comes with it. The people of Cleveland can believe that when LeBron James comes home to play for them, that he wants to bring that cheerful, happy, bright, celebratory feeling to his hometown because it is deserved and he understands what basketball and his community mean to him now. 

Finally, in paragraph eight, James asks rhetorical questions to make his audience understand that he is making the right decision for himself. He asks, “What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react?” He explains to his audience that he wants to be an example and a role model to young kids and young athletes; he wants them to look up to him and he wants to help them become better people. By asking rhetorical questions, LeBron James is trying to play to his reader's emotions, and persuade them that he is doing what is best for him and what is going to make him the happiest. He knows that it was very hard for his family and for the people of Cleveland when he left the first time, and by using rhetorical questions he realizes what he would want his role model to do if he were a kid, so he wants to go back to the place he will always call home and fix the things that broke after he went to Miami. When LeBron James comes back home to Cleveland, the people there can trust that he is going to take his responsibility, his leadership, and his love for the game of basketball very seriously because his hometown--of Cleveland, Ohio--deserves it, very much.

Therefore, he uses figurative language, contrasts, and rhetorical questions to engage his audience and to make them feel the love he has for Cleveland, for his fans, and for his family, who has supported him through it all. LeBron James is leaving Miami to go back to his hometown of Cleveland, to give the people there all they deserve, and to make up for the time he left. But first, he thought he should give all basketball fans, especially his own, an explanation as to why he is leaving such a good team. He wants to be at home--with the community that means so much to him--and he wants to be happy, but he cannot fully do that in Miami.

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