Thursday, July 8, 2010; 9:42 PM
The most highly-anticipated and celebrated free agent decision in NBA history finally was resolved on Thursday, with LeBron James ending nearly two years of speculation by choosing to sign with the Miami Heat. Seated in a chair and flanked by dozens of children, James made his announcement in an interview with Jim Gray at a local Boys and Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn., during an hour-long primetime special on ESPN.
James, a native of Akron and Northern Ohio's favorite son, had spent his entire career in Cleveland, leading the franchise to its only NBA Finals appearance in 2007 and winning two NBA MVP awards.
James met with six teams in Cleveland the first three days of the free agent negotiating period -- New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami, the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland. Leading up the unprecedented telecast, rumors had been swirling about a possible union of the three biggest prizes on a heralded free agent class, with Chris Bosh joining former NBA Finals MVP Dwyane Wade with the Heat. He supported those beliefs by proclaiming that the Heat "is going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win now. I want to be able to win championships and I feel like I can compete now. I'm looking forward to it."