LeBron James: “I’m Coming Home”
After four NBA Finals appearances — two of them championships — over four seasons with the Miami Heat, LeBron James has decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He opens the statement talking about how much Northeast Ohio means to him; that Miami will always be his second home and while he would have made his announcement via “The Decision” differently, he would have made the move to Miami all over again; it made him the player and the man he is today and gained him two NBA world championships; he said it was almost as if the last fours years have been his ‘college,’ and now it’s time to return home.
It’s a well-written essay and pretty damn inspirational.
On his decision to return:
When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
On what to expect:
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 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. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.
James may be realistic, but it’s obvious that by coming back to the Cavaliers the team is now one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. Kyrie Irving is an All-Star who is budding on superstardom as one of the best point guards in the league. They have terrific wings in Tristan Thompson and Luol Deng (one of the best defensive players in the league). And don’t forget they just drafted No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, who could be the best superstar to put on sneakers since Kobe Bryant. Can you imagine if their 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett finally figures things out?? They’re going to be stacked.
It remains to be seen how this will affect the Miami Heat — or the rest of the league for that matter. Every single team has been on the edge of their seat, waiting to see what LeBron would do so they would know how to build their team this off-season. Expect the dominoes to start to fall now: Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love… they’re all next. And it will be a circus.
Also expect Bosh to take a max deal somewhere else, most likely Houston, meaning the Heat would become a team lucky to make the playoffs next season.
I predict a championship in Cleveland in two years.
Photo Credit: Getty