The four-time MVP will return to the team he began his career with.
The biggest saga of the NBA offseason is finally over.
The announcement is the biggest story in the NBA since James left Cleveland for Miami in the summer of 2010. He drew criticism for the self-indulgent broadcast entitled 'The Decision', where he broke Cavaliers fans' hearts by declaring his intention to move to South Beach.
Then, the infamous 'Miami Heat welcome party' received derision from fans as James promised "not five, not six, not seven" NBA titles.
The two-time champion has learned from his mistakes. "I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work", he wrote in his announcement on si.com.
He joins a Cavaliers roster that features two young cornerstones in point guard Kyrie Irving and 2014 number-one pick Andrew Wiggins. Cleveland fans have suffered through four losing seasons since James left, but with his return they will almost certainly be the favourites to win the Eastern Conference.
Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert released a harshly-worded letter criticising James after his 2010 decision, but the 30-year-old has decided to put the past behind him.
"I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when," James said. The letter from Dan Gilbert, the booing of the Cleveland fans, the jerseys being burned -- seeing all that was hard for them (his family)."
"It was easy to say, 'OK, I don’t want to deal with these people ever again.' But then you think about the other side."
"I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"
With James's departure the Miami Heat will have little to no chance of repeating their four appearances in the past four years. Chris Bosh looks to be on his way to Houston and Dwyane Wade's future is unclear.
"The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys," james said. "I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life."
James has the chance to cement his legacy as one of the greatest players ever if he brings an NBA Championship to his home state. He stopped short of promising titles in his announcement, but with a better supporting cast than he ever had in his first stint in Cleveland he has an excellent shot at bringing glory to one of the league's most ill-fated franchises.