LeBron James coming home to join the Cleveland Cavaliers

BronHome

BronHomeThe waiting game is over: LeBron James made his announcement to Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins that he’ll be rejoining the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2014-2015 NBA season.

The letter is simply wonderful:

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.

Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I’d obviously do things differently, but I’d still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.

I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.  I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.

I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. … He and Riles didn’t get along. … The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.

I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.

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.

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?

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.

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. 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.

It never seemed remotely possible throughout the past year. Mike Brown was hired. The Cavs underperformed. Anthony Bennett tanked. Chris Grant was fired. Mike Brown was fired. The Cavaliers were nothing short of a complete mess.

It must have all changed when the Cavaliers won the lottery for Andrew Wiggins. It must have changed when Kyrie Irving signed on to be in Cleveland for five additional years. It must have changed when the Miami Heat failed in spectacular fashion on the NBA’s biggest stage. More than likely though, it must have all changed inside LeBron James and his inner circle of advisers and family.

If LeBron James hadn’t been born in this region and been drafted to the local team, there’s no way the Cavaliers ever would have been in the running to get the greatest player in the game today given their current position in the league. None of that matters today though.

He’s back. LeBron James is back. And the Cavaliers are officially relevant.

Regardless of anything else, that feels great.

 

  • Daniel Carroll

    Just needed to come here and personally thank you guys. You truly helped keep me interested in Cleveland sports during a very hopeless time. I read a lot of blogs, but I’m really happy for the WFNY guys. I feel like I know you and I’m very happy you guys get to write about such an amazing time to be a Clevelander. I hope you guys have a blast and enjoy this!

    Love to Cleveland, props to LeBron James, and congrats to each of you at WFNY

  • stryker1121

    You cannot know that..that’s an incredibly cynical take. If nothing else RATIONAL Cleveland fans know patience like a brother.

  • Clown Baby

    Really can’t believe Savannah walked away from her juice bar. Smh.

  • saggy

    stay classy, Miami.

  • saggy

    oh, whew. that was close.

  • RGB

    Didn’t Harv craft a St. Crispin’s Day Speech a while back for us when Haslam fired Lombanner?
    Harv…you know what needs to be done.

  • saggy

    the love for Blatt across the television/internet by former coaches and current (unnamed) execs is broad. Many in the league seem to think he was going to succeed before the Cavs landed LeBron, but now they’re saying he could have a Popovich-type impact in Cleveland (my adjective, not theirs).

  • https://twitter.com/Steve_Not_Chad Steve_Not_Chad

    WHATCHA GONNA DOOOOOOOO

  • RGB

    You sure it wasn’t just some homeless dude they gave a free Heat t-shirt and a bottle of Thunderbird?

  • RGB

    I hope his press conferences are as good as Pop’s.

  • Harv 21

    I’m exhausted by this, here’s all I got in a pinch, RGB:

    Access July, 2013. The Tribe is nowhere. Chris Grant just shocked the world with an injured Anthony Bennett. Mike Lombardi is the Hidden Hand. Really …. really? They come and attach the nodes to your head. You will have a 5 second glimpse, that’s all. Fine, you don’t really want to see anyway.

    Flash – Tribe in a playoff! Flash – Manziel plus a another shutdown CB in plain orange helmets! Flash – LeBron in .. wait, LeBron? Another letter, but now people are crying?

    Stand up, losers and whiners. Open your fingers and drop the woe is me. C’mon, just let it fall! Farmer manipulated the draft in his first rodeo, LeBron stared down Riley, Tito’s in the house.

    It’s a town full of losers and I’m pulling out of here to win. You with me? Let’s go.

  • RGB

    Any chance ESPN creates a Cavs-centric feature akin the the Heat Index?
    Yeah, I thought not…

  • CBI

    LOL!

  • Petefranklin

    We have a co comment of the day! Love that clip!

  • Petefranklin

    I’m sure the recorded chimes were on for their usual noontime sounding where I used to live.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    They own Miami’s first next year top 10 lottery protected right now that’s a top pick with the roster they have currently. Riley will get some guys but he needs to step up his pursuit fast!

    http://cdn0.sbnation.com/legacy_images/dawgsports/images/admin/blackandwhite_Buford_T_Justice_in_car.bmp

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Not yet but man it’s been LeBronathon all day.

  • Harv 21

    who knows. Read somewhere that his fam and friends were weeping after reading early draft because it centered around what this area means to him, so sounds like at least the sentiments were his.

  • architrance

    Word! I think its top 10 protected for 2 years, then no protections in 2017. I wonder if Miami just blows the ship up? I mean, I guess there is no ship… Bosh is gone to form THE new super team in Houston and do they throw a max contract at Wade now? Or does he bolt for someplace like Chicago or LA? I think they have 2 PG’s – Norris Cole & Nappier, but I don’t think they have ANYONE else under contract? Even McBob/Granger only had verbal commitments, they probably aren’t signing now, right? Plenty of playing time to be had!

    But yes, that pick just got IMMENSELY more valuable!

  • RGB

    Having to listen to them credit SI all day has been priceless. lol
    Well played Mr. James.

  • RGB

    Thank you sir. But, I have a long way to go before I can be mentioned in the same breath as Harv.

  • dwhit110

    !!!!!!!!!!

  • mgbode

    was driving away from beach (of Houston) as LeBron announces he is also putting the beach (of Miami) behind him.

    anyway, put my thoughts in Scott’s thread.

  • RGB

    Would have been nice to have been a little more celebratory, but that’s how you feel. Ah well.
    Go Cavs! :)

  • mgbode

    I’m at peace with it. Happy for the community as a whole.