LeBron James is coming home. The basketball star announced he's returning to play for theCleveland Cavaliers in Sports Illustrated Friday.
"My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now," James wrote.
In 2010, James left Cleveland to take his talents to the Miami Heat, inspiring hatred from many fans, many of whom burned his jersey. But despite all this, James, who won two NBA titles with the Heat, doesn't regret his decision to leave.
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"If I had to do it all over again, I'd obviously do things differently, but I'd still have left," he continued. "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."
The star athlete says his decision to return to Cleveland has nothing to do with rumors that he didn't get along with Heat coaches Erik Spoelstra and Pat Riley or that the Heat couldn't put together a good enough team for next season.
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"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission," James explained. "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."
James even said that he and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert have made amends following his infamous angry Comic Sans letter four years ago. Now, he just hopes to put the past behind him and bring positive change to his home state. "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," James wrote. "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," James concluded. "I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home."