Thursday, September 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

LeBron James returns to Cavs: ‘I’m coming home’

By
From page B1 | July 12, 2014 |

LeBron James

FILE - IN this April 22, 2010, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James dunks against the Chicago Bulls during the second quarter of Game 3 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago. James told Sports Illustrated on Friday, July 11, 2014, he is leaving the Miami Heat to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. (AP Photo/Charles Cherney, File)

CLEVELAND — If LeBron James was going to win another NBA title, heal broken hearts and continue building his legacy, he knew there was only one place to go.

To Ohio. Home.

Four years after he left for Miami, a widely criticized departure that damaged his image and crushed a long-suffering city’s championship hopes, James is coming back to play for the Cavaliers to try and end Cleveland’s half-century title drought. He’s returning to his basketball roots, to the people who know him best, to make good on a promise.

James made the announcement Friday with a powerful essay written for Sports Illustrated. His decision ended two weeks of speculation with the entire league waiting on his move.

When he finally made it, Cleveland was his choice over re-signing with the Heat.

“I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland,” he said to SI. “The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

James had not yet signed a contract, but he made it clear he will wear a Cavaliers jersey next season.

“When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission,” James said in the SI first-person story. “I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.”

The talented kid from Akron, now a homecoming king.

Cleveland is thrilled to have him back. James is the league’s best all-around player, a four-time MVP who was dubbed “The Chosen One” as a can’t-miss high school star who learned the game on the playgrounds of Akron, about 40 miles from Cleveland. At 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, he can score from all over and is one of the game’s best passers and defenders.

Staying in Miami would have been easy. He could have made another run at a third title and fifth straight NBA Finals appearance with close friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the other members of a “Big 3″ who have been the league’s team-to-hate since 2010.

Instead, James picked the young, unproven Cavs, with a rookie coach, David Blatt, who spent last year in Israel. Almost unbelievably, he’ll again work for owner Dan Gilbert, who torched James on his way out the door in 2010.

For Cleveland, a city accustomed to so much sports heartache — as the Cavaliers, Browns and Indians have come close but failed to win it all — news of James’ return triggered a spontaneous downtown celebration during Friday’s lunch hours.

Car horns blared and strangers high-fived on the sidewalks outside Quicken Loans Arena, where James had so many big moments during his first seven seasons as a pro.

Four years ago, some fans burned his jersey. On July 11, 2014, all was forgiven.

The Cavs were considered a long shot when free agency opened. But as the days went by, Cleveland emerged as the leader, especially after clearing salary-cap spaces to offer him a maximum contract. While he was in Las Vegas earlier this week, James met with Heat president Pat Riley, the architect of Miami’s back-to-back championship teams.

Riley made a final pitch, but he had nothing to match the overwhelming lure of home.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio,” James told SI.

“People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me.”

James’ exit ends an era in Miami, but it’s not the end for the Heat. Bosh agreed Friday to a five-year contract worth about $118 million, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the team nor Bosh had publicly announced the deal.

The Heat are negotiating with Wade, who learned of James’ departure on a flight to Miami late Thursday.

He may be gone, but part of James will forever be in Miami.

“I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB,” James told SI. “I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys.”

James was scorned for turning his back on Cleveland in 2010, announcing his decision on a poorly conceived TV special. His critics said he wasn’t good enough to win a championship by himself, and that he needed to surround himself with All-Stars.

James may never surpass Michael Jordan’s six titles, but his legacy could be bringing one to Cleveland, devoid of a championship in any sport since 1964.

“I’m not promising a championship,” he said. “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.”

He’s starting fresh with Gilbert, who famously wrote a blistering letter condemning James and calling him disloyal, narcissistic and cowardly.

At some point, the two worked out their differences.

“I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man,” James said. “We’ve talked it out.”

Gilbert, too, has moved on.

“I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them,” Gilbert said on Twitter.

Like a kid who spent four years away at college, James is coming back home.

James comes back a different man, more mature for his encore. He grew up in Miami. He’s a proven champion, married with two sons and his wife, Savannah, has a daughter on the way. He wanted to raise them in his hometown.

James has “loyalty” tattooed on his body. Akron is everything to him, “there’s no better place to grow up.” Scarred by economic woes, the area needs his help, and James intends to make it a better place.

“I feel my calling here goes above basketball,” he said. “I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I’m ready to accept the challenge.

“I’m coming home.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Theatre DeVille in Vacaville closes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Focus on school attendance now, always

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Lunafest returns to Fairfield in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Pepperbelly’s for sale

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3, 4 Comments

 
Jury selection begins in 2011 Fairfield murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Seniors get help at Kroc Center health fair

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Drug court success stories tell their tales

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Suisun City Senior Center seeks holiday donations

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Weather for Sept. 18, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
.

US / World

Emotions mount on final day of Scottish campaign

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Maps provide early warning of California fire risk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

More than 2,000 homes threatened in California fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
NASA’s Maven spacecraft reaches Mars this weekend

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

US military role in Iraq raises combat questions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Police: Ambush suspect was military re-enactor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

House grudgingly approves arms for Syrian rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Ex-VA doctor: Phoenix report a ‘whitewash’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

School district police stock up free military gear

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Doctor says Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

US scientist: Ebola unlikely to become airborne

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Liberia president praises US for Ebola help pledge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Obama reaffirms opposition to US combat in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
AP Interview: Iraq premier says no foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

 
Give new crime report a chance

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 17 Comments

 
Homeless find welcome in Vallejo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History: Sept. 18, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Sept. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Sept. 18, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
My brother fails to make an effort to when it comes to my kids

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
U2 returns to iTunes Top 100 — 26 times

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: B4, 1 Comment

Directors Guild finds TV diversity hiring stalled

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Sports

Rodriguez gets 1st MEL soccer win since return to league

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Giants snap tie in 9th, beat Arizona to narrow gap in West to 2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers’ Kaepernick fined for inappropriate language

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 4 Comments | Gallery

Barry Bonds appeal heads back to court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NFL, union agree to new drug policy, HGH testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders rookie Derek Carr focuses on job at hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Pegulas’ bid to buy Bills OK’d by NFL committee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FSU benches Winston for 1st half of Clemson game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Umpire West suspended 1 game for grabbing jersey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

After making ‘mistake,’ Vikings bench RB Peterson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks sign D Braun to 5-year, $19 M extension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rockets acquire Jason Terry, picks from Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Panthers remove DE Greg Hardy from active roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

Fed signals plan to keep key rate at record low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brown signs ride-sharing insurance legislation

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US homebuilder confidence soars in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Anthem, hospitals join to offer new insurance plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Drag queens dress down Facebook over names

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
Wells Fargo pays $290,000 in sex harassment case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

Margaret King

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9