LeBron joins Wade, Bosh

LeBron James announces his decision to join the Miami Heat. (REUTERS/Rich Arden/ESPN)

LeBron James announces his decision to join the Miami Heat. (REUTERS/Rich Arden/ESPN)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 AM ET

The King has spoken and the words he uttered Thursday night resonated throughout the NBA as the basketball world held its collective breath awaiting his free-agent destination.

After much speculation, growing suspense that morphed into shameless self-promotion, reports that seemingly changed by the hour, James told a nationally televised audience on both sides of the border that his court will be in Miami.

"I'm taking my talents to South Beach," he said. "It's going to give me the best opportunity to win. I want to be able to win championships."

James now joins Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in one of the most dynamic trios the NBA has seen, a group that could evolve into the greatest three-headed monster in the history of basketball. Three guys who came into the NBA together in 2003, were teammates on the U.S. Olympic team and were always linked in some way, shape or form.

"It's not like I'm leaving (Cleveland),'' said James, an Ohio native. "I feel like I'm joining forces with two guys I respect. It's very emotional for me."

James said he made the decision Thursday morning after meeting with his mom.

His underlying goal is to win, not just now but in years to follow. The two-time defending-champion Lakers are still the team to beat in the NBA because of the presence of Kobe Bryant, L.A.'s size, length and a new-found mental toughness.

The East, meanwhile, still features a very good Orlando team and an aging Boston side that has at least one more run.

How Thursday's decision has a bearing on the Toronto Raptors' ability to engineer a sign-and-trade with Miami wasn't immediately known.

The biggest losers were clearly the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron picked a boys and girls club in Greenwich, Conn., to air his one-hour show on ESPN. Depending on the source, the made-for-TV program has been in the works for months.

What can't be in question is the $1 million US Thursday's must-see TV promised to generate for local kids in need of a new gym, funds that will be directed through James' foundation.

In Greenwich, Conn., fans and media gathered some five hours prior to James' announcement as some 15 satellite trucks were spotted.

Throughout his whole ordeal, dating back months and even years, virtually everyone in basketball and anyone outside of the game had their opinion on where James would end up.

U.S. president Barack Obama encouraged LeBron to play for Obama's hometown Bulls, which has added free-agent piece Carlos Boozer to complement Derrick Rose and Yoakim Noah.

Even before LeBron made his long-awaited announcement, the buzz in basketball was that he was bound for South Beach.

Some reports had the King forking over some of his wealth to book as many as 25 rooms at a posh hotel in Miami, where several Heat players had gathered in anticipation of the big news.

Though the Knicks were said to be in line to secure his services, the team, through back channels, was informed the King would not be headed for the Big Apple.

According to reports, sales of season tickets in Miami were suspended Thursday afternoon after the available supply of seats sold out.

As is the norm, some seats haven't been released, which will go on sale for individual games at a later date.

Thursday night provided the ending to one of the most bizarre chapters in basketball history.

With so many free agents available, it was felt the James domino would be the first the fall, the one piece that would establish the market.

As it turned out, of all the big-name free agents, James was the last to commit.

The way everything was orchestrated, a lot of basketball within basketball have expressed their private beefs on the whole process.

But that's what one should expect when players are out for themselves and basically use whatever means, whatever platform to send different messages.


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