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The ramifications of LeBron's return to Cleveland

LeBron James will return to Cleveland.
LeBron James will return to Cleveland.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

There are many reasons why NBA superstar LeBron James is returning to the franchise that drafted him first overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers. The opportunity to play with a talented guard in Kyrie Irving, the aging of former Miami Heat teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, and the questions around the other personnel of the Miami Heat definitely paid a significant role in James' return to Cleveland. It can't be understated that LeBron James' connection to his home state also played a major role in his decision. In the Sports Illustrated piece that detailed his explanation for rejoining the Cavs, it is clear that LeBron James put a significant amount of reasoning behind his decision and that reasoning cannot be defined into one specific way.

LeBron James faced an incredible amount of public criticism for his 2010 television special 'The Decision' in which he announced he would leave Cleveland for Miami as a free agent. Although James was arguably the biggest free agent in NBA history in terms of talent and accomplishments and the show drew big TV ratings, it did not appeal to many sports fans and media who saw it as a selfish superstar publicly humiliating his hometown team, the Cavaliers, by choosing to leave for the Miami Heat on national television. Following James' TV show, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert publicly criticized James in a strongly worded letter that was placed on the team's website.

In the four years since his 2003 television special, James achieved what he set out to do when he left Cleveland by winning two NBA championships. The Sports Illustrated piece in which James explains his return to Cleveland discusses his growth as a player and as a man over his four years in Miami. He also thinks back to the nervousness he felt in making his choice to join the Heat on national television. He also referred to Miami as his 'second home' and pays respect to some of his teammates specifically by name. Clearly, James' time spent in Miami was spent creating more than just business relationships.

Ultimately, LeBron James made a life changing decision to return to Cleveland in part due to the importance of returning back to his home state and raising his growing family in a place where his positive memories far outweigh any negative memories. If James is at peace with this decision as he appears to be, then he has won before the NBA season has even started.