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  • Phil Long / AP Photo

    Cleveland Cavaliers basketball fans celebrate in front of the house of LeBron James, in Bath, Ohio, after learning of James' decision to sign as a free-agent with the Cavaliers, Friday, July 11, 2014. The fans tossed powder in the air, like LeBron's pregame ritual.

  • Karen Schiely / AP

    Revere High School football players, from left, Clay Erdie, Brendon Patene Joe Magoline and Chase Costanzo ran from practice to celebrate with fans outside the home of NBA basketball star LeBron James, in Bath, Ohio, after learning of James' decision to sign as a free-agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Karen Schiely) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Lori Shepler, File / AP Photo

    FILE - In this Dec. 25, 2009 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles. James told Sports Illustrated on Friday, July 11, 2014, he is leaving the Miami Heat to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Mark Duncan / AP Photo

    Graphic designer Alvin Smith holds up a poster across the street from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Friday, July 11, 2014, heralding the return of NBA basketball star LeBron James. James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago to join the Miami Heat, announced earlier he would return to the Cavaliers.

  • Mark Duncan / AP Photo

    A large electronic billboard in Cleveland welcomes back NBA basketball star LeBron James Friday, July 11, 2014, after he announced he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat.

  • Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo

    Jonathan Ferrer and his fiancee Gleidys Anton take a selfie with their dog Paris outside the home of NBA basketball player LeBron James, Friday, July 11, 2014, in Miami. James is returning home to Ohio, reversing the decision he made four years ago that led to two NBA titles in Miami and crushed Cleveland Cavalier fans. "Its a sad day," said Ferrer, "it breaks my heart. He played like a king for the last four years."

  • Jamie-Andrea Yanak, File / AP Photo

    FILE - In this June 26, 2003, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers fans Greg Wisniewski, center, and Jeff Lombard, right, celebrate as they watch a televised broadcast of the NBA draft at Gund Arena in Cleveland, after the Cavaliers selected Lebron James with number one pick. James told Sports Illustrated on Friday, July 11, 2014, he is leaving the Miami Heat to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Tony Dejak, File / AP Photo

    FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2006, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James dunks against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland. James told Sports Illustrated on Friday, July 11, 2014, he is leaving the Miami Heat to go back to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Karen Schiely / AP

    Revere High School football players Chase Costanzo, foreground, and Clay Erdie, ran from practice to celebrate with fans outside the home of NBA basketball star LeBron James, in Bath, Ohio, after learning of James' decision to sign as a free-agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Akron Beacon Journal, Karen Schiely) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Mark Duncan / AP Photo

    Fans whoop it up behind an ESPN reporter outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, after NBA basketball star LeBron James announced he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, July 11, 2014.

The Return: Cleveland welcomes LeBron back

Published: Friday, Jul. 11, 2014 - 1:38 pm
Last Modified: Saturday, Jul. 12, 2014 - 6:22 am

LeBron James is coming back to Cleveland. Forget about all those fans who burned jerseys when he left — the city is ready to welcome its NBA superstar home.

Within hours of his announcement Friday that he was leaving Miami to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, fans celebrated in the streets and an electronic billboard with James' image lit up the side of a building.

James explained in a Sports Illustrated essay that being near his hometown in northeast Ohio was a big factor in his decision. "I always believed that I'd return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn't know when. After the season, free agency wasn't even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown."

Take a look at how Cleveland is celebrating.



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