LeBron James is Going Back to Cleveland

The wait is over. The widespread speculation now a thing of the past.

LeBron James is returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The All-Everything lightning rod of criticism opted to announce his decision with a first-person piece in Sports Illustrated.

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.

James goes on to explain his reasons for writing the piece before confirming what many have believed would happen.

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.

There are more glowing words about Ohio before he brings it home with this:

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.

Now, I’ve long been a LeBron supporter — and even apologist. So perhaps it’s my bias speaking, but I think this is a tremendous move.

James is nothing if not human, and this decision confirms it. He was going to face criticism no matter his choice, and it appears he’s doing what will make him happy.

What a freaking story line this is going to be. Can’t imagine anyone talking about anything else for a few years.

[via Sports Illustrated]