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Thursday, July 8, 2010

LeBron's Decision: Miami Heat! $30M More Than Other Teams

"King" LeBron James has just announced live on ESPN from Greenwich, CT that he's going with Miami Heat.

He wants to win a championship and felt Cleveland wasn't the place for him to achieve that goal.


LeBron Says He'll Sign With Miami Heat

LeBron James is headed to South Beach.

Months of speculation about James' NBA future ended Thursday when the two-time MVP announced his intentions to play for the Miami Heat during a one-hour television special.

James will join a superstar trio in Miami that includes Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

ESPN televised James' decision live from a Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn., a group with which James has a relationship.

Ten days ago, FOX Sports Radio's Stephen A. Smith reported that James, Wade and Bosh would all end up together in Miami.

“You’re only as good as your sources, as a journalist, and from what I’m being told, after hearing what everybody has to say, LeBron James will agree to team with Dwyane Wade, he’s going to South Beach," Smith said at the time. "LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to South Beach; they are going to play for the Miami Heat.”

In the hours before his choice was revealed, the sports world spun out of control with speculation and rumors.

James, in a T-shirt and shorts, showed up at a tournament of high school stars at Cleveland State University in midafternoon with former teammate Damon Jones. James nervously chewed his fingernails while watching some high-schoolers play. He stayed a little more than an hour before heading off in a white Bentley, presumably on his way to the airport.

He did not speak to a reporter, but said "thank you'' to some coaches in the stands who wished him luck.

In Greenwich, fans and media set up their own camp across the street from the Boys and Girls club more than five hours before the announcement. More than 15 satellite trucks lined the streets, and about two dozen fans with beach chairs and coolers settled on a patch of grass, hoping for a glimpse of James.

By 6:30 p.m. more than 100 people had gathered.

Dustin Dobbs wore a James jersey and carried a small radio to listen to the announcement — one he said merited all the hype.

"He's the face of basketball today,'' the 18-year-old from Westport, Conn. said. "This is all worth it.''

Knicks president Donnie Walsh, an executive with nearly 30 years in the NBA, understood all the fuss.

"It's something new, but we're in new age,'' he said. "I don't remember Michael Jordan ever becoming a free agent. I don't remember Larry Bird becoming a free agent. I don't remember Magic Johnson becoming a free agent. It would've been the same back then if they had, but that never happened.''

The Cavaliers, a franchise that was in ruins before winning a lottery drawing and bringing James up Interstate 77 from his Akron home, have had the upper hand — until now. They were able to offer him more money — $30 million more — than any other team.

But because they have overspent while trying to please James and win the first title by any of Cleveland's three pro sports teams since 1964, the Cavs are strapped with a few big contracts that have eaten up salary-cap space and prevented them from making roster moves to improve the team.

They've come close to winning it all with James, who at 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds has the quickness of a point guard and brute force of an NFL defensive lineman.

With the possible exception of Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, James is the NBA's premier player, but his legacy cannot be fulfilled until he wins a championship.

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Sources: ESPN, Fox Sports, MSNBC, Google Maps

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