LeBron James ended his silence surrounding his free agency decision with an hour-long special on ESPN on Thursday (July 8), shocking everyone when he revealed he will be joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a Miami Heat uniform next NBA season.
King James told the world that he made the decision after an unsuccessful seven-year quest for the NBA championship he’s yet to taste.
“I can’t say it was always in my plans, because I never thought it was possible,” James said of the move to Miami. “But the things that the Miami Heat franchise have done, to free up cap space and be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all three of us, it was hard to turn down. Those are two great players, two of the greatest players that we have in this game today.”
The trio played together in Beijing for the US Olympic basketball team and all helped bring home gold medals. Now, by teaming up again, they hope to bring home another type of gold — Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
Wade has one title, earning it in 2006 with Shaq, but both Bosh and James have yet to enjoy a Finals victory just yet, which motivated both to move to a team they think they can accomplish it with.
“Winning is a huge thing for me,” James said.
But, by leaving Cleveland, the NBA superstar admits his hometown fans aren’t gonna take it well.
“They can have mixed emotions, of course,” James said, adding that Akron will “always be home for me.”
“It’s hard to explain, but at the same time, my heart — in the seven years I gave to that franchise, to that city — was everything,” he added. “Those 20,000+ fans that came out every night we planned, they seen me grow from an 18-year-old kid to a 25-year-old man. I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area. I also felt like this is the greatest challenge for me … is to move on.”
He’s right too. Shortly after his announcement Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert posted an open letter on the team’s website calling LeBron’s silence and TV announcement “narcissistic” and calculated as a “self-promotional build-up”.
Gilbert went on to call his departure from Cleveland a “cowardly betrayal”, and even accused him of quitting during the playoffs during a discussion with the Associated Press. The Cavs owner said King James quit on the team during their second-round series against the Boston Celtics, who rallied back from a 2-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland.
“He quit,” Gilbert said of James’ performance. “Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.”
Obviously bitter, Gilbert promised that his team would win an NBA championship before James does in Miami.
“I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled ‘King’ wins one,” he wrote in his letter. “You can take it to the bank.”
Before ending his letter, Gilbert added that James’ “bad karma” will follow him to Miami, where he’ll be “cursed” with failed attempts at NBA titles just like in Cleveland.
By landing James, after garnering commitments from Wade and Bosh on Wednesday (July 7), the Miami Heat have snatched up three of the most sought after free agents at one time in the league’s history.
All three — James, Bosh and Wade — were drafted into the NBA in 2003 with the respective nos. 1, 4 and 5 picks in the 2003 draft.
With the formation of the trio, the Heat hopes they can form a dynasty in Miami.
So far this off-season, there’s been a few major moves. Amar’e Stoudemire opted to leave the Suns for New York, the utah Jazz’s Carlos Boozer left for the Chicago Bulls, and of course, Toronto’s Chris Bosh moved to Miami. For a full rundown of moves, trades, and deals, head over to NBA.com and check out their Free Agent Tracker.
The upcoming NBA season is going to be interesting.