After what seems like an eternity of having fans, haters and even the entire National Basketball Association at the edge of their seats, LeBron James has finally made a decision. The 29-year-old has announced that he will be returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he was drafted straight out of high school in 2003 and where he played for the first seven seasons of his career.
This announcement comes after his four-year contract with the Miami Heat expired. After losing an opportunity for a three-peat championship ring with the Heat to the San Antonio Spurs, the Akron, Ohio, native decided that he would continue his career in the state that made him.
“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James told Lee Jenkins in a Sports Illustrated essay. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”
When James took his talents to South Beach in 2010, Cleveland fans were outraged. They went as far as burning his jerseys and defacing any remnants of King James that decorated the Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cavaliers play. He even received a rather nasty letter from Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
“I’ve met with Dan face-to-face, man-to-man,” James said in his essay. “We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?”
In his essay, James also thanks Miami Heat owner Micky Arison and President Pat Riley for the past four years, but given the way fans reacted when James left Cleveland, there’s no telling how Heat fans will react.
Read James’ essay at Sports Illustrated.