Miami, FL---It was known LeBron James could leave the Miami as a free agent this offseason, few actually thought Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals would be the final time he'd wear a Heat uniform.
That was June 15th. Just nine days later, LeBron opts out of the fifth and final year of his contract, presumably, so Pat Riley can work his magic and re-tool the team for better championship chances.
Yet Friday, Riley and company found out there will be no more negotiating, no more talks, and no more LeBron.
After four years in South Beach, King James is returning to the place that started it all, his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. The Akron, Ohio native spent the first seven years of his career with the Cavs after being taken with the top pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
On July 8th, 2010, he shocked Ohioans and amazed Floridians leaving for Miami, via his famous cable TV special, "The Decision".
This time around, there was no build up, no press conference, no buzz, just a 952 word release through Sports Illustrated Friday morning.
James announced his return, while thanking the Heat organization and his teammates, saying "These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go. I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today."
LeBron closed the statement with saying "My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I'm from... In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have. I'm ready to accept the challenge. I'm coming home."
King James also took to his Instagram account, posting one image with three words: "I'm coming home."
Heat owner Micky Arison also spoke out on social media after LeBron's decision, tweeting "I am shocked & disappointed in today's news. However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories @KingJames."
Those memories will run deep in the hearts of Heat fans and the history of the NBA. In four years in Dade County, LeBron brought four straight NBA Finals apperances, two championships, and two Most Valuable Player awards.
In his short time in Miami, James is still 4th all time on the franchise's points list, 3rd in assists, 9th in rebounds, and finishes with more points or minutes per game averaged than any player in Heat history.