LeBron James is going back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In an open letter that confirmed what was first reported by Chris Sheridan, James wrote to the public through Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins.
In that letter, he explained his decision to return back to his home state, talked about his experiences in Miami and looked toward the future with a young Cavaliers team.
Here are the 10 best quotes from LeBron James’ open letter:
1. He Is Who He Is
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. I sometimes feel like I'm their son.
With Ohio being the place of LeBron James’ birth, the Cleveland Cavaliers were always more than a maiden team for the star when he was drafted in 2003.
After leaving for Miami, his personal ties to the area alone were always going to be enough to pull him back.
2. More Than A Game
My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now.
LeBron’s return, and the way in which he says Miami made him realize how much Ohio means to him, is one that has an old cliché written all over it: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
3. The University Of Basketball
Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today.
Much like Chris Sheridan noted in his initial report on the story, LeBron used Miami as a sort of learning experience for his career in the way that other stars have done for their careers.
Having been drafted from an Ohio-based high school, James never had that chance before.
4. A Mature “Decision”
I'm doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted.
James already admitted that the way he went about “The Decision” TV special in 2010 was’t the right way to leave a team and a fanbase who adored him.
With this open letter, he was able to explain himself without other players speculating what he was thinking in head.
5. Reversing The Curse
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.
The city of Cleveland has not seen a professional team win a championship since 1964.
Winning a NBA championship in Miami, in a less-crazy sports town where Dwyane Wade had already done it himself, just did not produce the same feeling as reversing the curse at home.
6. All About Family
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.
Sports fans can have a tendency to forget that athletes, like them, are people, too. Their decisions hinge on more than just which city has what players.
When it comes to where he wanted to raise his family, there was no competition: Akron, Ohio was the place to be.
7. Burying The Hatchet
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?
Dan Gilbert wrote an open letter of his own when LeBron left Cleveland in 2010, one in which he called James a coward.
James hasn’t forgotten, but he’s definitely forgiven, and he didn’t let a grudge hold him back from going back to the place he loved.
8. It’ll Take Time
I'm not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We're not ready right now.
James’ message regarding Cleveland’s chances of going all the way stands in huge contrast to his message upon arriving in Miami.
Rather than yelling “not one, not two…”, he’s opted for something a little different. “I’m coming back and I’m ready to work.”
9. For The Kids
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… Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
LeBron James has never given up his desire to have a positive impact on the kids from his area.
He was also aware, though, that crushing the heart of his home state when he left for Miami was not a good example for those same kids he cared about. He wants to right a wrong.
10. Return Of the King
I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home.
Drop any other player in Cleveland, Ohio in 2003 and he might leave the city with no care in the world.
But, for LeBron James — for a player that has been the pride of a whole region since his freshman year of high school — home is always going to be where the heart is.
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images
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