After winning two NBA titles during his time with the Heat, LeBron James took his talents back to Cleveland.
“What’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio,” James wrote in his famous letter in Sports Illustrated that revealed his decision to return to the Cavaliers in 2014.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that James’ third NBA championship might feel a little different than the two he won in a Miami Heat uniform. After all, James is from Akron, Ohio — about 40 miles away from Cleveland. Throw in the fact that a Cleveland pro sports team had not won a championship since 1964, and it’s pretty easy to see how this title could stand above the rest in James’ eyes.
When asked why this championship felt different than the two he won in Miami, an emotional James gave the answer most expected.
“I’m home. I’m home,” James said to ESPN’s Doris Burke just minutes after leading the Cavaliers to the title. “This is what I came back for. I’m at a loss for words. This is unbelievable. It doesn’t feel real right now.”
Later on the The Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN, James explained in more detail why he was so emotional after delivering a title to Cleveland.
“This represents everything,” James said. “I won two championships in Miami and that was something I wanted to do and it was something that me and my teammates did in Miami. We definitely gave everything that we had. But just knowing that 50-plus years in Cleveland since Jim Brown hadn’t seen a championship, understanding the Earnest Byner fumble, understanding Jose Mesa in the bottom of the ninth not being able to close out, understanding me being in the Finals in 2007 and getting swept by the Spurs, and then last year losing 4-2 to this same team. I just know what out community, our city and Northeast Ohio has been through for the last 50-plus years. So that’s where all the emotions came from.”