Cleveland Cavaliers

This Date in NBA History (July 11): LeBron James announces 'I'm coming home' in Sports Illustrated letter in 2014

On July 11th, 2014, LeBron James, in a letter in the Sports Illustrated as told to writer Lee Jenkins, announced his return to Cleveland to sign with his home state franchise of the Cavaliers.

He concluded the letter with the famous words 'I'm coming home", which sparked celebrations all across the state of Ohio.

"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn't had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what's most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

As a free agent, the 6-foot-9 forward was moving-on from a successful four-year stint with the Miami Heat.

During the four years with the Heat, alongside fellow All-Stars in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, he won two more league MVP awards, reached four straight NBA Finals between 2010 and 2014 that resulted in two championships (2012, 2013).

Being the best player on those teams, he was also named Finals MVP those two years.

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.

More than anything, his announcement in 2014 was far different from the way he made his 'Decision' public in 2010. Just over a month after the announcement, James celebrated his homecoming with over 30,000 fans at a football stadium.

Although he mentions 'I'm not promising a championship' in the letter, James achieved his goal of bringing a trophy to Northeast Ohio.

In 2016, he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a historic 3-1 comeback in the Finals against a Golden State Warriors squad that won an NBA record 73 wins in the regular season. The title was the first in franchise history and was the first title won by a professional sports team from Cleveland in 51 years.

Over the four years in Cleveland, James reached the NBA Finals each year to make it eight straight for him. It was an achievement that made him the only non-Celtic player (from the 1960S Dynasty to do so).

Other notable events on Jul. 11

  • In 1996, the NBA and NBPA signed a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. This five-year deal brought an end to the short lockdown, which only lasted a couple of hours and was the third of four in league history.
  • In 2007, the Seattle SuperSonics traded Rashard Lewis to the Orlando Magic for a future (2009) second-round draft pick (Emir Preldžić was later selected).
  • In 2012, the Atlanta Hawks traded Joe Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Williams, a 2013 first-round pick (Shane Larkin was later selected) and a 2017 2nd round draft pick (Frank Jackson was later selected).

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