James thanks Heat for four great years
The Sports Xchange
LeBron James is taking his talents from South Beach to return to Cleveland. In his wake is left a Miami Heat roster with plenty of needs and no obvious solutions.
Since James arrived in Miami in 2010, the Heat roster has been all about building around the four-time MVP. Without the NBA’s strongest of pillars, the Heat could be in line for a rebuild.
“Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids,” James wrote in the Sports Illustrated essay announcing his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “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 wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today.
“I went to Miami because of D-Wade and 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 that’s exactly what we did! The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve 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.”
Riley has the thankless role of rebuilding without the best player in the game and likely without Chris Bosh, who was expected to sign a four-year, $88 million deal with the Houston Rockets to form an impressive trio with Dwight Howard and James Harden.
Dwyane Wade, still a capable scorer but not the premier talent he was as the lead recruiter behind the formation of Miami’s Big Three, is a free agent but expects to re-sign.
James said the move back near his hometown of Akron was about becoming an idol and role model to the young people in Ohio.
“I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want anyone thinking: He and Erik Spoelstra didn’t get along. ... He and Riles didn’t get along. ... The Heat couldn’t put the right team together. That’s absolutely not true.
“I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work.”