WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The wait is over.
The NBA’s top free agent LeBron James is officially returning to Cleveland, authoring a piece entitled “LeBron: I’m coming back to Cleveland” exclusively for Sports Illustrated, to announce the news.
In it, James writes:
I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.
James spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland, leaving for the Miami Heat in highly controversial fashion in 2010, announcing his ‘Decision’ on national television, after holding fans in Cleveland hostage, regarding his future, for weeks.
In the entirety of James’ 952-word announcement Friday, he never once mentions the word “decision.”
Instead, he writes, “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”
It’s clear, he’s ready to make amends.
On Wednesday, a reporter, Chris Sheridan, staked his reputation on first reporting James had already settled on Cleveland, even as others reported James’ mind wasn’t made up. Whether he had or not remains to be seen, but for Sheridan’s sake, his reputation will remain in tact.
James departs Miami where, along with the latter thirds of the Big Three — Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade — the Heat made four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, winning the middle two. In 2010-11, the Heat were defeated by the Mavericks in six games, and earlier this year, were handled by the Spurs in five.