Piecing Together LeBron’s Clues About Cleveland

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The time LeBron James spent contemplating (read: dragging out) his decision to leave the Miami Heat for his previous team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, was nothing short of gut-wrenching. The thing is, we all have our ways of coping. Internet detectives milked every last tweet, Instagram post and interview quote to glean precious few clues as to what LeBron’s next move would be; some theories pegged him going to the Chicago Bulls, others had him joining the Houston Rockets. Ultimately, we now know that Cleveland will be James’ new home—and if we had kept our wits about us, we all would have known that ahead of his announcement. Here are the clues that should have tipped us off that LeBron was heading back to his home state.
 
 

Savannah’s Akron, OH Instagram photo
At the time, critical thought would have led us to the conclusion that James’ pregnant partner may have been headed to Ohio simply to be closer to family, but it turns out the internet was right all along. Savannah James, LeBron’s fiancee as of New Year’s 2012, put the post up roughly three weeks before LeBron’s decision. However, internet denizens searching for clues set the web alight with speculation after locating the above mention of James’ hometown, complete with its tantalizing mention of a “countdown.” Looks like LeBron took us for a ride and may have had already made up his mind well ahead of time.

 
 

Team LeBron followed Ohio news on Twitter
These two Twitter handles linked to Ohio-based news publication the Akron Beacon Journal were the last two that Team LeBron, James’ official fan site, followed during the run-up to The Decision. They could have just wanted to keep tabs on speculation sourced in James’ home state, but now we really know why the hit the add button: they were poised to collect those sweet, sweet retweets that would inevitably come their way once LeBron dropped the bomb. Hat tip Darren Rovell of ESPN Sports for fueling this bit of speculation.

 
 

Team LeBron’s website was ready to put up Cleveland’s colours, maybe
Grantland contributor Matt Borcas tweeted that he had a web developer pore through LeBron’s site, and what they found was too good to be a coincidence. On the site they found several new pages, neither live nor populated with content. However, the pages were had a colour palette that made use of wine, gold and navy blue, otherwise known as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ team colours. As is the case for much on the internet, this may have been an elaborate hoax, or else LeBron’s savvy web developer caught onto the news and took the pages down.

 
 

Mike Miller might have been an insider
This Instagram from James’ former Miami Heat teammate Mike Miller, reportedly being courted by the Cavs at the time, was ripe for interpretation. Notice in this shot the framed LeBron James Cavaliers jersey sitting all casual-like against the wall, like it was recently set there on purpose? Now we know it was a sign not only that Miller and James’ friendship transcends team lines, but that Miller was the bearer of LeBron’s secret. That or he really wanted the Cavs to pick him up.

 
 

LeBron James was just a small town kid after all
We had it staring at us in the face for longer than a month. LeBronJames.com changed layouts in July, according to historical website aggregator Archive.org. In May prior, the site had a layout reminiscent of a magazine or your typical blog. But the redesign that surfaced in July prominently featured “Just a kid from Akron, Ohio” in the header banner. As opposed to, you know, “Just a kid who played four consecutive Finals with the Miami Heat.” Small difference.

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