LeBron James announced that he’s coming home to Cleveland. James released a statement  to SI.com that he will return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after leaving the team four years ago. The town will welcome him with open arms, but is he returning because he loves Ohio or because he loves his new teammates?

( Photo Credit: section215.com)

( Photo Credit: section215.com)

 

When he left in 2010 for Miami in his much-hyped “decision”, he said he was leaving to win championships. Cleveland saw him as a traitor and burned his number 23 jersey in the streets. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert  said James leaving was ” a cowardly betrayal, ” and even nastier things were said online. The Miami Heat won two  championships in 2012 and 2013 with James and the other men in the “Big Three”, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  However, with the recent loss in the finals in June to the San Antonio Spurs, James began to look elsewhere when his contract with the Heat was up. Rumors swirled about whether he would stay in Miami or leave.

James finally put the rumors to rest. In his essay as told to sportswriter Lee Jenkins, which was released on the Sports Illustrated website, he explained his decision to return to Cleveland. “I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there.”  “My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” he said. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

James was’t the bragging superstar he was in Miami four years ago, promising multiple championships. He seemed more humble in his essay. “I’m not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. “

Cleveland is a forgiving town. His decision was met with joyous dancing in the streets and tickets selling out at the Quicken Loans Arena where the Cavaliers play. Though James seems genuine and must love his hometown, it seems that  his new teammates were also a factor in his coming home.

With the Miami Heat, James played with Wade and Bosh at the height of their careers. But with Wade having numerous injuries and Bosh a non-factor in the last finals, James had to look at his options during free agency – and jump off a sinking ship. With new upstart Kyrie Irving, James can build another championship -worthy team. In his statement, he said, ”   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.” Will he be a true mentor, or will he just jump to another team when the Cavs start losing?

James is the best player in the NBA and should be commended for giving his hometown hope ( and much-needed money). However, his loyalty to Cleveland will probably last as long as the Cavaliers win. If they lose championship games over a long period of time, James may take his talents to another city.