King James returns to Cleveland

LeBron James announces a surprise return to the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers after a four-year stint at the Miami Heat.

    In four years with the Heat James went to four NBA Finals and won two championships [GALLO/GETTY]
    In four years with the Heat James went to four NBA Finals and won two championships [GALLO/GETTY]

    LeBron James told Sports Illustrated that he has decided to go home to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is a move that would have seemed unfathomable four years ago, after the fallout that followed his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat.

    He spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland. In four years with the Heat, he went to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships. And now he heads back to Cleveland to see if he can finally deliver on his promise of winning a championship for that title-starved city.

    LeBron's Cleveland stats
    Points                    15,251
    Minutes                  22,108
    Playoff wins              42
    All-Star selections      6 

    "Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It's where I walked," James told SI. "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."

    He left Cleveland being called disloyal, a narcissist, a coward and a quitter _ and that was all by Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. And now James will play for Gilbert again.

    "I'm not having a press conference or a party," James told SI. "After this, it's time to get to work.''

    Big three moving

    Miami's 'Big three' (James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) all exercised options in their contracts to become free agents this summer, but the thinking was that they would renegotiate their deals to give the team financial flexibility in an effort to make upgrades to the roster.

    Instead, James is heading back to his roots. Bosh may now leave as well. And the Heat face a decidedly uncertain future, a stunning twist for a franchise that has won the last four Eastern Conference titles. 

    James doesn't turn 30 until this December, so it's safe to say that he just may be reaching his peak.

    He's already 27th all-time in scoring with 23,170 points, and could climb into the top 20 next season. Since he entered the league as the number one overall pick by the Cavaliers in 2003, no one has played more minutes or scored more points.



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