LeBron James is going back to play basketball in his home state, telling Sports Illustrated that he has decided to make a return to Ohio to again play for the Cavaliers. James' decision has ended the speculation about where the four-time MVP would play next, conjecture that had grown to a fever pitch over the past days and weeks. He returns to the Cavaliers after four seasons and two NBA championships with the Miami Heat, the team he picked four years ago over Cleveland when he said during a TV special that he would "take my talents to South Beach." The announcement broke the hearts of Cavaliers fans, some of whom burned his jersey four years ago and some of whom have since campaigned for his return. James made this monumental decision in much different fashion, telling SI's
Lee Jenkins his reasons for returning to Ohio.
"Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from
Northeast Ohio," the Akron native said in the SI piece. "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 opted out of the final two years of his contract with the Heat last month, leaving $42 million on the table. Reports indicated that he didn't want to sign with another team unless he received a maximum deal that calls for $20.7 million for the 2014-15 season.