Lebron James has one simple message for the team he once spurned: “I’m coming home.”
In a piece for Sports Illustrated, James told Lee Jenkins that he is returning to his hometown team – the Cleveland Cavaliers — just four years after leaving a foul taste in the city’s mouth by joining the Miami Heat. When he left, Cavaliers fans instantly projected their vitriol, including publicly burning the star’s jerseys.
Now, James said he realizes he should have stayed home:
“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… My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”
James continued that he was being much more realistic with his expectations this time around, saying the team is not ready for a championship. He, along with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, famously held a press conference where the threesome said they expected to win “not one, not two,” but seven championships. The Heat made the NBA Finals each of the four years since the Big Three teamed up, winning in both 2012 and 2013.
Instead, James said he wants to help young stars Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins develop the team into a powerhouse.
But it isn’t just about returning to where he’s comfortable — James said he feels like he can make a bigger difference in his home state, although he admitted the challenge would be difficult:
“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.”
Details of James’ contract have yet to be revealed.