LeBron James to Sign With Cleveland Cavaliers

NBA superstar takes his talents back to hometown team.

Posted: 07/11/2014 12:29 PM EDT

He’s coming back home.

LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, penning a first-person letter exclusively to Sports Illustrated.

"To make the move I needed the support of my wife and my mom, who can be very tough,” James wrote in the letter. “The letter from [Cavs owner Dan Gilbert], the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned — seeing all that was hard for them. My emotions were more mixed. It was easy to say, ‘OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.’ But then you think about the other side. What if I were a kid who looked up to an athlete, and that athlete made me want to do better in my own life, and then he left? How would I react? I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"

He would add his desire to deliver a championship to the Cavaliers.

"I’m not promising a championship," he said. "I know how hard that is to deliver. We’re not ready right now. No way. Of course, I want to win next year, but I’m realistic. It will be a long process, much longer than it was in 2010. My patience will get tested. I know that. I’m going into a situation with a young team and a new coach. I will be the old head. But I get a thrill out of bringing a group together and helping them reach a place they didn’t know they could go. I see myself as a mentor now and I’m excited to lead some of these talented young guys."

He added: "But this is not about the roster or the organization. I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile."

Gilbert's response: "Welcome home King James."

Stay tuned for more on this developing story.

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(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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