After weeks of speculation, and refreshing Lebronjames.com, official word came out via Sports Illustrated that LeBron James is heading back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. You can peep King James’ full statement but the gist is in it’s final line:
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
In his exclusive first-person letter to SI on Friday, James explained why he is returning to Cleveland, and that he made a mistake leaving the city in the first place.
“To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough,” James wrote in the letter. “The letter from [Cavs owner Dan Gilbert], the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned—seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, ‘OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.’ But then you think about the other side. 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? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”
“But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile.”
Dan Gilbert tweeted his reaction:
Welcome Home @kingjames. I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them…..
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 11, 2014
As did Heat owner Micky Arison:
I am shocked & disappointed in today’s news. However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories @KingJames
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) July 11, 2014