Cue up Diddy’s “Coming Home!” In a shocking turn of events, LeBron announced in a blog post on July 11 that he was signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that he spurned in 2010 with “The Decision.” Read his emotional post below!
After LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat on June 24, he opened the door for a possible return with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team whose heart he broke by taking his talents to South Beach in 2010. And though most reports speculated that the greatest in the NBA would be re-signing with the Heat, on July 11 LeBron posted a personal letter on SI.com announcing that he was headed back to Cleveland.
LeBron James Returning To Cleveland Cavaliers
“I’m Coming Home,” the blog post’s headline reads — three words that will send enormous shockwaves through the NBA. In the actual letter, which was told to Lee Jenkins, LeBron talks about how Ohio is and will always be his true home. “Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio,” the emotional post begins.
A native of Akron, Ohio — a city less than an hour away from Cleveland, LeBron started his career with the Cavaliers when they drafted him first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. He immediately became a hometown hero, winning Rookie of the Year, two MVP awards, and leading the Cavs to the NBA Finals in 2007.
LeBron goes on in his post to laud his time with the Miami Heat during which he and the team made the NBA Finals four years in a row and won back-t0-back championships. And the NBA star insists that the reasons people were posing for his exit from Miami — they couldn’t afford to keep the Big Three together and sign other good players, mainly — were not true. The bottom line is that he just wanted to go back to Cleveland.
“I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there,” says LeBron.
LeBron James & Cleveland Cavaliers Burying The Hatchet
LeBron’s return to Cleveland is not just shocking because most reports had him staying in Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but also because of the bad blood that was created by “The Decision,” the nationally televised event in which LeBron publicly shamed Cleveland by choosing to join the Miami Heat.
After “The Decision,” Cleveland Cavaliers fans burned LeBron jerseys in the streets, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert went so far as to post a scathing letter slamming his former player. But the first hint that the Cavs would actually have a shot at landing LeBron this offseason came on July 7 when the post, which had lived on the Cavaliers website for four years, was mysteriously taken down.
LeBron may say he’s making a decision for family, and because he wants to go home — but anyone who follows the NBA knows that he may also be heading to a better situation, both for his bank account and for his legacy. By returning to the Cavs, LeBron can still sign a max contract and leave the team with enough salary cap space to build a strong team around him — something the Heat could not do. Also, with up-and-coming players like Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, the Cavaliers are built for the future, while the Heat, led by aging star Dwyane Wade, are not.
Plus, how cool is it going to be if LeBron fulfills the prodigal son narrative and returns to Cleveland after four rocky years to win them their first NBA championship? However, regardless of the real reason LeBron chose to rejoin the Cavs, he’s ready to prove that it was the right decision. “I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home,” he concludes his letter.
Read the post in its entirety here, then tell us what you think! Are you shocked LeBron chose to go back to Cleveland?
— Andrew Gruttadaro