LeBron James is currently in his 15th NBA season, and over the past decade and a half the debated best player in the world has had to deal with a lot of controversy. However, nothing has ever been bigger than James’ departure from Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat and back again.
According to an April 9 report by ESPN, LeBron James’ former Miami Heat President, Pat Riley, opened up about the NBA star’s career moves, and why they were the right thing to do. Riley reportedly told author Ian Thomsen for his new book, The Soul of Basketball: The Epic Showdown between LeBron, Kobe, Doc and Dirk that Saved the NBA, the real reason that James decided to leave the Miami Heat and return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Pat Riley reportedly revealed that despite his feelings of anger over losing the NBA superstar, that he now believes LeBron James made the right move in both leaving Cleveland for Miami, as well as returning home to the Cavaliers four years later. Riley added that LeBron’s motives to come home to the Cavs were based off of his sense of hometown pride. James, who is from Akron, a suburb of Cleveland, is a hometown hero who turned into an enemy after announcing his decision to leave the Cavs for the Heat back in 2010.
Riley reveals that LeBron James himself, as well as his close friends and family members believed that he would never fully be accepted back in Cleveland and Akron unless he went home to the Cavaliers and tried to bring the city a championship. Pat says that if LeBron wouldn’t have at least tried to win a title in Ohio that he would return someday with a “scarlet letter” on his back.
“You’ll be the greatest player in the history of mankind, but back there, nobody’s really going to accept you.”
Of course, win a title he did. LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers in an epic 3-1 comeback over the Golden State Warriors in 2016 to win the Cavs’ first ever NBA title. James is looking to spark some of the same magic in 2018 as his team, who have battle tested all season long, prepare to enter the NBA playoffs. After the season is over, LeBron will have another big decision to make. Does he stay in Cleveland, or look for another new start as he heads towards the twilight of his career?