Written by Ramona Shelbourne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst at ESPN.com
Over the years, LeBron James has become something of a social media savant. He uses it to shape narratives, raise eyebrows or even settle issues when the basketball world or his team grows chaotic.
This summer, in the weeks following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, with the foundation of the franchise eroding with each passing news cycle, James’ Instagram account has been a mirthful sea of calm — poking fun at his bald head in a workout video, throwing a glib jab at frenemy Draymond Green, posting a picture of his son’s birthday cake and his longtime trainer’s birthday party and, on July 7, posting a shot of himself frolicking on a beach in Mexico.
You would have never known tumult was building in Cleveland.
There was no whiff of the organizational failures to keep former general manager David Griffin, or to hire Chauncey Billups to replace him. There was not even a hint at the disappointment James felt when potential trades for Paul George and Jimmy Butler fell through before and after the June 22 NBA draft. And there was no remark when a text message from Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard undid an agreement on a blockbuster deal for George the Cavs were just starting to celebrate, a moment that now lives in infamy within the organization.
Instead, in post after post, James has repeated one hashtag: #striveforgreatness.
The truth is these Cavs might not be striving for greatness together much longer. James has yet to give any assurances of his intention to stay beyond next summer. Yet, even with the sudden stress, there’s a strong belief that if this group stayed together, it could be right back in the Finals next June.
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