LeBron James becomes first person ever to leave Miami for Cleveland voluntarily

Emphasis on “voluntarily.” I assume there have been extraditions from one city to the other over time.

Time to scrape together a few hundred bucks, Cleveland readers, and replace that LeBron Cavs jersey you burned four years ago.

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. 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.

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…

But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. 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. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.

He writes that he’s met with Dan Gilbert, the Cavs owner who farted out this enjoyably nasty open letter to the fans after LeBron left in 2010 (“You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal”), and that they’ve made peace. In that same letter, Gilbert “guaranteed” that the Cavs would win a championship before the “self-titled former ‘King'” won one. Four years later: Two titles and four Finals appearances for James, a 97-215 record for Cleveland. Go figure that Gilbert was willing to forgive and forget. Now they’ve got the King, a 22-year-old two-time all-star in Kyrie Irving, and the first overall pick in this year’s draft in Andrew Wiggins. Lo and behold:

Our semi-retired president is pleased too:

By one estimate James is worth $80 million a year to northeast Ohio’s economy, but maybe that number’s on its way up. After all, we seem to be in the full flush of a Cleveland renaissance: LeBron is back, the Browns have Johnny Manziel, and the city’s got the 2016 Republican convention. This calls for a slogan:

Ah well. At least now, when Clevelanders gaze at that indestructible billboard of LeBron, they won’t feel so bad. Exit question: If the Cavs really do end up in the NBA Finals, what happens to the GOP convention?

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