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So today I went to banh mi and there was a homeless guy outside and I didn’t have any cash on me so I ignored him. But then when I was inside I felt  bad so I ended up getting him a sandwich since they were buy two get one free. 

Is it better to acknowledge them and say no or ignore them? Or maybe I’ll just buy food every single time. 

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A Religion

It’s pretty obvious that I am a Lakers fan and I’ve been on pretty much all my life. When I moved to the US, I didn’t understand the language, I had very few friends because of it, and my parents barely even acted like my parents. However, there was one thing that my parents and I had in common, something that I could enjoy with them. That thing was the LA Lakers.

I remember one night when we were in the car with my Dad’s friend, he started talking about basketball and said the LA actually had a pretty exciting team that was good at the same time. Intrigued by this, my parents began to watch Lakers games and I was there to watch with them. I was immediately in awe of the things these guys could do. I remember seeing how huge Shaq was and just finding myself in a state of joy. I don’t remember a time where I watched a Lakers game and wasn’t happy. Adding to that joy was Kobe Bryant, a man that I used to call the “Pogo Stick” because of his dunks. In fact, my nicknames weren’t just limited to Lakers players. During the 2001 finals, I began to call Allen Iverson “The Robot” because it looked like he simply couldn’t miss. Well, the rest of the league aside, let’s get back to the Lakers. 

As time progressed, my love for the team and especially Kobe Bryant grew. Watching games became an obligation. We never missed a game. If we couldn’t watch the game live, we would record it on VCR and later DVR. You see, the Lakers were and still are more than a basketball team to me, and Kobe is more than an athlete, he is my idol and my role model. To have been able to watch him play basketball at such a high level for the better part of the last fifteen years has been a privilege. To this day, almost every game he plays he won’t fail to do something that will leave me in a sense of awe. The Lakers are a religion to my family. No matter how turbulent the relationship between my parents and I got, or how much we still don’t get along, we watch every Lakers game that we can together. My grandpa never misses a game no matter how bad the Lakers are doing. No matter what, I know that I can count on him being next to me getting just as frustrated at the lack of talent the Lakers fielded this past year. 

When LeBron first left for Miami, I laughed at Cleveland for burning his jersey and Dan Gilbert writing that letter but then I remember how I felt when Shaq left and soon after won a ring and how I felt when I thought Kobe was going to be traded. I was gutted when Shaq left and I just remember being so angry when I saw that parade they had because it looked like Shaq was so happy. He was even playing with that stupid water gun! Of course, those things weren’t the right thing to do but I now understand why Cavs fans felt so strongly about LeBron’s decision. To them, he is their religion. he put the city on the map and brought respect back to a city that hadn’t won a major sports title since 1964. When he left, it was like their one hope, their hero, their religion had abandoned them and everyone who cared about the team felt a great deal of disrespect. 

The decision that LeBron made today is the best one he could have made. If he had stayed in Miami, people would have bagged on him for staying in his comfort zone, knowing that Pat Riley has the ability to construct a competitive team around him. If he had joined any other team, people would have accused him of being a ring chaser and a mercenary. Even now, when he chooses to go home and represent his city and people again, people accuse him of being disloyal. There is simply no win for LeBron because no matter what, a certain amount of people will always hate on him for no reason.

If you take the time to read his essay on SI, LeBron says that this decision wasn’t about the roster of the team and landing in the best place, it was about staying true to Cleveland. He recognizes how important he is to the city. Him going back to the Cavs allows the people of Cleveland to have something to be happy about, something that brings the city together. Just like how the Lakers bring my family together. For Cleveland, LeBron was and will be something of a religion. Cavs games will bring the city, friends, and families together, allowing people to forget about their differences for a moment and unite under a single cause of rooting for their hometown hero. 

In the past few years, I have come to respect LeBron and recognize him as one of the greatest of all time. However, after reading his essay and his decision to return home, I am a fan. If the Lakers can’t win the championship I would love to see LeBron bring one to Cleveland and give the people what they’ve been waiting for since 1964.

You might not like LeBron but he has earned the respect that he rightfully deserves.

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  • #nba #lakers #shaq #kobe bryant #cavs #lebron james #heat #basketball #family
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