LeBron James has certainly built a legacy for himself in Miami.
James certainly has a great situation where he plays now: the family likes living in South Beach, James gets to play with a great friend of his in Dwyane Wade and oh, by the way, he lives in South Beach.
However, Miami is not James’ real home.
James grew up in Akron, Ohio, which is not that far from Cleveland. Not many high-profile players like James get to be drafted so close to home, but he was one of the lucky ones and got to compete day in and day out for the city that most represented his hometown.
When Dan Gilbert and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ executive staff failed to put enough pieces around James to win, James then bolted for Miami in 2010 where he teamed up with Wade and Chris Bosh to form a super team that the NBA has had trouble dealing with for years now.
How could James go back to Cleveland after losing there and the fans turning on him when he left? Why would he leave such a great situation in Miami?
The answer lies in if the Heat can win the championship this year.
If the Heat win the championship this year, it is likely that this will be their last one as a group. Wade has continued to have medical struggles over the past few seasons especially that do not look like they will get any better as the years go on. Bosh is considered to be a great stretch four in this league, and some team will step up to the plate eventually and offer him big money to come and be a featured scorer on that team. The aging veterans Ray Allen, Shane Battier and Chris Anderson cannot be expected to keep outpacing their retirements for much longer, and Mario Chalmers seems to have hit his limit in terms of development as a point guard.
That leaves James with few options with the roster going forward.
Yes the Heat have Pat Riley at the helm who knows how to put a team together, but even he cannot be expected to keep luring in talent that will be willing to continuously take pay cut after pay cut to keep James happy.
Three championships is a lot with one team, and the only way to majorly boost his legacy is to go win where it is arguably the most difficult to historically: Cleveland.
The Cavaliers have some interesting pieces in place to accompany James on a quest for an NBA championship. Superstar point guard Kyrie Irving is no scrub, averaging 20.7 points per game to go along with 5.9 assists per game for his career. Irving has arguably one of the best handles in the game, and that allows him to get into the lane freely and either pull up for a jump shot in the mid range or get to the rim and finish or draw contact with the best of the best in the league. Irving’s speed and quickness help him excel in transition where he can find a teammate and dish the rock or even pull up from three with his proven deep shot ability.
While Irving is a great player now, James can help him along with the rest of the team reach another level.
If there is one thing James has down about the pro game, it is work ethic. James works just as hard as any other player in the league, and bringing in a player like this to show the younger guys how it is done is just the thing that Cleveland needs to do to take the next step in competing for a championship. Guys like Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett have plenty of untapped potential, and James may be just the leader to bring it out of them.