CLEVELAND, Ohio — Northeast Ohio was quick to react to the big news: LeBron James is coming home to play for the Cavs!
The announcement was made just after noon Friday after what was called “Decision 2.0.” It made headlines for several weeks after James opted out of his Heat contract for free agency.
James is an Akron native and started his NBA career in Cleveland. In 2010, after seven seasons, he made a live television announcement on his “decision” to join the Miami Heat.
Reports Friday said one of James’ sticking points in making today’s decision was the letter Cavs owner Dan Gilbert wrote to the fans of Cleveland shortly after LeBron left.
But shortly after James’ announcement, Gilbert tweeted, “Welcome home, @King James. I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them.”
Welcome Home @kingjames. I am excited for the fans and people of Cleveland and Ohio. No fans and people deserve a winner more than them…..
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 11, 2014
Keith Dambrot, who was James’ first high school coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary is a current coach at Akron.
He had this to say about the announcement: “It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Dambrot. “The community, him, and the young people of northeast Ohio.”
Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic said the city is thankful James is returning and that he always supported his hometown even when he was in Miami.
“No matter where LeBron played basketball, he never stopped giving back to his hometown, Akron,” said Plusquellic. “We are thankful for his generosity and excited to continue partnering with him on projects that help our children and enrich our community. As good of a basketball player that he is, he is an even better person. I am thrilled that he has decided to continue his outstanding career in Cleveland, where he will be even more accessible to his Wheel for Educations kids and family.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson also made a short statement: “Welcome back!”
Les Miles, head coach for Louisiana State University’s football team, is from Ohio and also congratulated James.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said James’ decision will have a large impact on Northeast Ohio.
“As a fan, I am ecstatic to welcome LeBron James back to Northeast Ohio, and I can’t wait to cheer him on as he leads the Cavs back to prominence this fall. If the past few days tell us anything at all, there is no doubt that Cleveland is coming back stronger today than ever before. What an incredible week for Cleveland!”
Sen. Sherrod Brown welcomed home LeBron and said that Cleveland is on the move.
“This week it won a national party convention, and now it won back a favorite son. We look forward to your contributions and leadership, on the court and off, to make Northeast Ohio an even better place to raise a family. And celebrating a championship wouldn’t hurt.”
Others posted support on social media: