Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. Its where I walked. Its where I ran. Its where I cried. Its where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like Im their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didnt realize that four years ago. I do now.
Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, Id obviously do things differently, but Id still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldnt be able to do what Im doing today.
I went to Miami because of D-Wadeand CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And thats exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. Ive talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life. I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years.
Im doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I dont want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didnt get along.He and Riles didnt get along. The Heatcouldnt put the right team together. Thats absolutely not true.
Im not having a press conference or a party. After this, its time to get to work.
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 hasnt had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But whats most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
I always believed that Id return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didnt know when. After the season, free agency wasnt 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 wasnt going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.
To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, OK, I dont want to deal with these people ever again. But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? Ive met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. Weve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. Ive made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?
Im not promising a championship. I know how hard that is to deliver. Were not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but Im realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. Im 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 didnt know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and Im excited to lead some of these talented young guys. I think I can help Kyrie Irvingbecome one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompsonand Dion Waiters. And I cant wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates.
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 Im from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that theres 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.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.
Im ready to accept the challenge. Im coming home.
Frack-Tards need to take off their blinders and wake up to the real crisis facing our endangered Republic!
Sunday, July 13, 2014 12:40:09 PM
The man left because he wanted a couple of rings. Now that he has them, he can come crawling back to Cleveland and act like nothing happened. I swear, if I was a Cleveland fan, I would of gathered my pitchfork by now and burned his house down. I'm shocked they haven`t already.
Sunday, July 13, 2014 7:23:42 AM
This clearly is *not* about money. His basketball salary is comparatively chump change compared to his endorsement deals. He's going to make about $5M more per year in Cleveland than he did in Miami. To we mere mortals, that may be a LOT of money (it sure as heck is to me). But, to a guy who makes over $70M per year in endorsements (and could make a lot more if he wanted to endorse other things), a delta of $5M a year is obviously *not* what`s driving him to move.
Consider how easily he could add $5M per year playing for any team he wanted (including, by the way, Miami, who would have *gladly* offered him the max deal and jettisoned whoever they had to to keep him) or by endorsing another product or two. He`s scheduled to make over $1B before he retires. $5M per year for a few years is chump change.