He’s coming home.
Four years after LeBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat, the Akron-native will be returning to the Cavs.
LeBron made the announcement moments ago, through a letter released on Sports Illustrated:
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 11, 2014
In the letter, LeBron says the decision was not easy, maintaining he needed the support from his family, who were still upset about how fans and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert treated him when he left. (Most famously, there was the nasty letter Gilbert wrote that was just taken down from the Cavs’ site a couple of days ago.) LeBron wrote:
“To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from 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?”
LeBron is past it now. And he’s leaving a Heat team that has been highly successful over the last four years: they’ve been to four straight NBA Finals, winning two in the process.
Now it’s time to see if LeBron can bring a chip to his home state, something, he says, that won’t be easy:
“I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.”
The NBA is going to look mighty interesting next season.