After four seasons leading the Miami Heat, Lebron James is returning to the city that once called him King.
After weeks of speculation, meetings and prognostication, James has decided to return to his roots. Instead of a two-hour cable special, James made his decision known through a letter published in Sports Illustrated. The lead-up was a frenzied media circus, but when it came time, the decision was revealed in a from-the-heart piece that spoke more to the region then to the star himself.
James has shown that time heals, maybe not all, but enough to put the past behind for an opportunity to bring the ultimate prize home to Cleveland. Dan Gilbert’s infamous letter, the night James made his decision to leave Cleveland for Miami in 2010, must have been a hard hurdle to jump over, even for a man who stands at 6 ft 8 in. No one appreciates being called a betrayer.
The only lasting message from that letter that rings true is: “Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day…”
With the King returning, the Cavaliers finally have a team with competitive potential. The young stars will be looking to James for leadership, a role that LeBron says he is more than ready to take on.
The promise of playing with the likes of Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao must have helped his decision. James mentioned both of these players in his SI letter. Awkwardly absent from the list was Andrew Wiggins, the NBA’s first overall pick, taken by the Cavs in this year’s draft.
But the real reason for his return, James claims, is “bigger than basketball.” The king has not forgotten his roots and the citizens of Cleveland, Ohio couldn’t be more pleased.
Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.