[www.inewsguyana.com] – Four years after he bolted from Cleveland to Miami in pursuit of the N.B.A. championships that had eluded him, LeBron James is returning home.
At age 29 and with two N.B.A. titles now in his possession, James decided to rejoin the Cavaliers, for whom he played in the first seven seasons of his storied professional career.
Vilified in Cleveland when he decided to leave for the Heat, James is likely to find that all is forgiven, and more, as he embarks on an effort to bring a championship to a city that has not celebrated one in any major sport in 50 years.
James, who grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio, and is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of his generation, made the announcement, saying:
“My relationship with northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”
In the fairly elaborate statement, which he prepared with the sportswriter Lee Jenkins, James went on to add: “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.”
In his four-year absence, the Cavaliers were one of the league’s worst franchises, compiling a 97-215 record without making a single playoff appearance. But by choosing to return, James positioned the team to become a championship contender in the years ahead.
Cleveland features a young, talented core that includes Kyrie Irving, a 22-year-old point guard who recently signed a long-term extension with the team, and Andrew Wiggins, a forward who was the top overall pick in last month’s draft.
It is also possible that the Cavaliers will now move aggressively to bolster the roster with veteran players, perhaps even a star from another team, in an effort to fast track the team’s chances to compete for a title.
In his statement, James referred to his new teammates, saying, “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’s departure from Cleveland in 2010 left deep psychic wounds on the city, and they were apparent almost immediately. On the night of his televised decision, fans burned replicas of his jersey and tossed memorabilia in Dumpsters.
Dan Gilbert, the Cavaliers’ owner, posted a vitriolic letter to the city on the team’s website in which he referred to James as “our former hero” and described his move to Miami as a “cowardly betrayal.” Gilbert also pledged that the Cavaliers would win a championship before James ever did.
Gilbert, of course, was incorrect. But the letter, which gained additional notoriety for being written in Comic Sans, remained online until early this week, when it was removed.
That action left many to wonder whether James was, in fact, returning, and there were other clues: photographs of James posing with friends from Akron on his Instagram account; a convoy of moving vans parked outside his home in Miami (although James always ships his cars to Ohio for the summer); and perhaps most important, his silence about his intentions. [New York Times]