July 8th, 2010
09:27 PM ET

LeBron James to play for Miami Heat

NBA free agent LeBron James announced Thursday that he will play for the Miami Heat in one of the most anticipated free-agent announcements in sports history.

James said he made his final decision Thursday morning, after speaking with his mother.

"Once I had that conversation with her I think I was set," James told sportscaster Jim Gray.

The six-time NBA all-star and two-time league MVP said the chance to play alongside fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami affected his decision.

Editorial cartoons, billboards and even quips from President Obama have accompanied the courting of "King James."

Speculation began to intensify last week over where the NBA's most sought-after free agent would choose to play after he started meeting with six teams vying for him: the New York Knicks, the New Jersey Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers - the team he has spent his entire career with.

eatocracy: Dear LeBron, come for the hoops, stay for the grub

Rumors that the Miami Heat was the leading contender to grab James began to emerge this week, with Newsday's Alan Hahn tweeting the news after midnight Thursday.

In an interview in June with CNN's Larry King, James, 25, said Cleveland would have an "edge" if they tried to retain him after he became a free agent.

James has spent his entire seven-year career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, who drafted him out of high school in 2003.

"This city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these last seven years... for me, it's comfortable," said James, who grew up in nearby Akron, Ohio. "I've got a lot of memories here. So it does have an edge."

But the six-time NBA all-star also said he's seeking an NBA title and wants to play with a team that can win more than one NBA championship. The Cavaliers were bounced from the second round of this year's playoffs by the Boston Celtics.

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soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Tim

    he made a career decision....We all did it at some point.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Orthodoxy

    f u lebron we really mean it

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • woweewow wow

      Indeed, LeBron is no longer welcome in NE Ohio. No more welcome that Carlos Boozer or Art Modell.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Where is Cleveland???

      July 8, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. woweewow wow

    The "LOYALTY" tattoo. His frequent proclamations that he is the "King of Akron." "I've done a lot of great things for Cleveland."
    You could have risen above your peers and stayed home, and continued to represent your own people. What a great, moral legacy and a great example for others that could have been. Go eff yourself, Lebron.

    The drive, the fumble, the shot, Blow-se Mesa, the Houdini (games 4 and 5 against Boston, 2010). The collapse of manufacturing and the steel industry, 20% unemployment, a rapidly declining urban population. Now, the defection. Can we get a break in C'Town? Now I'm beginning to see why all my friends have left NE Ohio.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • watchitsucka

      And stay for what???No help!!! All the greats had help regardless of what the hell you want to believe.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ctown

    I am from Cleveland and had to utmost respect for the guy. Not anymore. Its ok as a business decision to leave, I will buy that-announce it like everyone else has. Having a ESPN hour special paints you as the self centered immature madonna. Who knew. In spite of all the rumors, I thought you were better than that. Why didn't you have a segment on how polluted the river was years ago when it caught on fire while you were at it. Oh, and if you were really as generous as you want people to believe you are, you could have just written the Boys and Girls Club of America a check. Good riddence.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Maryland

    Good luck Mr. James, growing up can be hard sometimes. I wish you the best!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jim Jr

    Winter in Clevland or Miami? Nightlife in Clevland or Miami? Quality of teammates in Clevland or Miami?

    Could help change the nightlife and teamates but the winter...burrrr.

    Miamii!!!!!!!!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Icantstandrepublicans

      Looks like Jim Jr never learned how to spell... and it's not just a typo when it's misspelled 3 times!! Winters in Cleveland or Summers in Miami... what's the difference..... home is where your heart is and where love is in your life. I lived in Miami for 3 years and found it full of superficial, arrogant, rude and ignorant people.. not everyone, but quite a few. Horrible road rage, tempers, and just unfriendly people. When I packed up my car and drove north on 95, it was the happiest day of my life!

      July 8, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TARBALLS

    How many thugs does it take to win an NBA championship? Lets ask Miami!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      I'll give you its a thug league.....Lebron and his buds are an embarrassment for this collusion, but i give all three credit for staying off the metro page like some of their peers.

      July 8, 2010 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nomoresportscenter

    Good for him. Maybe he can catch the next boat to Cuba and I won't have to hear his name again. I mean.....why should we care??????

    July 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Orthodoxy

    loyalty to the dollar is this shines understanding, not mine or yours

    July 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hippie chick

    LeBron sold Cleveland out with this spectacle. We live in Texas but have roots in the Cleveland area. My 10 year old wants to know where he can send his LeBron jersey because he will not wear it again.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • balldontlie

      Well it is summertime. Throw it on the BBQ grill next to Jim Thome's!

      July 8, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sir TY

    Next Up. Dwight Howard Ha Ha Ha

    July 8, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Orthodoxy

    f the nba may the go bankrupt

    July 8, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Orthodoxy

    hopefully Stern imposses fines and punishment and then the NBA folds up in like 6 cities!!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. chris

    Lebron is killing his legacy. Miami is wades team......now he's expected to win...if he does it will be because he cohersed the process with his boys. Once again proving the NBA is a league full of me first losers. I'll take hockey any day of the week.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Don

    ...and the Celtics will still knock Lebron the Magnificant out of the playoffs next year!

    July 8, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      and I hope you learn to spell...

      July 8, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • JRS

      Rondo and Big Baby keep getting better....

      July 8, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
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