U.S. pro basketball superstar Lebron James says he is returning to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers after spending four seasons with the Miami Heat.
James wrote about his decision in an essay that appeared Friday in Sports Illustrated magazine, ending days of speculation about where the most desired free agent in the National Basketball Association would be playing next season.
“I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. 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,” James said.
In the essay, James said he always believed he would return to Cleveland and finish his career there. He also said he is not promising a championship, but is ready for the challenge.
“I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go,” James said.
James, who grew up in the U.S. state of Ohio not far from Cleveland, played his first seven seasons for the Cavaliers. He led them to one appearance in the NBA finals and is today their all-time leading scorer.
But he made a controversial departure from the Cavaliers in 2010 and signed with a star-studded team in Miami, leading the Heat to four straight NBA finals and two championships.
James exercised his option as a free agent, shortly after the Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs in this year's championship series.