LeBron James will sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he announced in a column on SportsIllustrated.com.

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realise that four years ago. I do now,” he wrote.

He spent four years in Miami after leaving Ohio, his home state, in 2010. After two championships, he’s going back to the Cavs. While Cleveland has some nice young players, LeBron frames this as a deeply personal decision, not a basketball decision, in his SI column.

His column ends:

“In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.

“I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”

James opted out of his Heat contract with one year left. While the possibility of returning to Cleveland was always floated, it wasn’t taken seriously until this week.

Through some risky trades, Cavaliers cleared enough cap space to offer James a maximum contract starting at around $US20.7 million per season. The financial terms of the contract have not been announced, but logic suggests he got the max.

The Cavaliers will build around LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and Andrew Wiggins.

From LeBron’s Instagram:

In the SI column, LeBron says he still would have left for Miami in 2010, but he would have done it differently.

Heat owner Mickey Arison tweeted his thanks:

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