In what has been one of the most anticipated and perhaps predictable announcements in NBA history, LeBron James announced at 9:27 pm on ESPN last night that he would be joining his friends and U.S. Olympic teammates, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in South Beach to play for Miami Heat.
Before James made the announcement on national TV, speculation about Bosh’s decision was also put to rest on Wednesday July 7 when he confirmed he would be joining elite player Wade in Miami for the upcoming season.
Although the Raptors didn’t seem too upset that the All-Star forward would be leaving Toronto and some have said he could have left the Raptors with more tact, Bosh tweeted: “Thank you Toronto, I wouldn’t be here without you all and I will miss you. Your support and love kept me going.”
Similarly to Bosh, James forwent a fat sum of $30 million dollars to play for a team he believes will win the championship.
Two-time MVP and the most sought-after player this summer, James declared nearly two years ago on November 2008 that July 1, 2010 would be his big day as he became a free agent. James was wined and dined by six teams since he became a free agent with the hope that the current best player in the NBA would sign with them.
While South Beach celebrated what is surely to be the Miami Heat holy trinity for seasons to come, Cleveland fans responded by burning James’ jersey.
Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner, Dan Gilbert also wrote an open letter to fans and supporters last night stating that James’ decision was not only “selfish” and “callous” but a “cowardly betrayal”. Gilbert also “personally guarantees [fans] that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled former ‘King’ wins one.”
But, the seven-time NBA All-Star who was drafted right out of high school and played for Cleveland for seven years announced that it has been a tough decision but one he has been looking forward to, especially in light of having the opportunity to play with Bosh and Wade who are “two of the greatest players that we have in this game today.”
More importantly though he is interested in winning: “Winning is a huge thing for me,” says James. As the 3-1 odds rolled in from Las Vegas last night that Miami’s dominant threesome is sure to lead Heat to a championship win, it will be an interesting season to watch.