There's no place like home. Four years after his controversial decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, LeBron James is returning to his former team in his home state of Ohio. James, arguably the most famous basketball player in the NBA right now, announced the news on Friday, July 11, in an exclusive, heartfelt, "as told to" essay for Sports Illustrated.
Recalling his childhood in the Midwestern state, King James, 29, said he felt a pull to the people and places he grew up with. "My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball," he said. "I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now."
The star athlete went on to say that he'd "do things differently" if he could go back, but that he'd probably still have left Cleveland. He compared going to Miami to going off to college, noting that he needed the time away to truly appreciate his roots. "I became a better player and a better man," he explained.
His goal now is to bring a championship to his hometown. "I always believed that I'd return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn't know when," he said. Then, revealing his second bit of big news, he noted that the time is right now because his wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a baby girl. (The couple are already parents to two sons.)
"I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown," he explained. "I looked at other teams, but I wasn't going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy."
Read the full essay at SI.com.