Decision 2.0: LeBron James returns to Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Reuters)

LeBron James will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Reuters)


, Last Updated: 7:08 PM ET

“I’m coming back to Cleveland.”

With those five words, LeBron James, perhaps the world’s best-known athlete and certainly the best basketball player on the planet, completely shook up the NBA.

The prodigal son of Akron, Ohio, announced his return to nearby Cleveland, via a letter to Sports Illustrated early Friday morning — then promptly flew to Brazil ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio,” James told SI’s Lee Jenkins.

“It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m 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 didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

James bolted Cleveland in stunning fashion four summers ago, choosing to sign with the Miami Heat. It led to an angry letter from Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, but all has been forgiven and the region’s biggest villain now again becomes its greatest hero.