Perhaps chief among the many reasons it was broadly assumed that LeBron James would re-sign with the Miami Heat this summer was because of his relationship with Dwyane Wade. And though the superstar friends will no longer be teammates, Wade made clear in a statement that he holds no ill-will towards James.
As a friend and teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey. In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal – to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond over the past four years. Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for himself and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots. As an organization, a community, and as individuals, we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions.
Pat Riley offered similar sentiments in a statement of his own, agreeing that “no one can fault another person for wanting to return home” and calling James “a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate, and person…”
Even Heat owner Mickey Arison got in on the somber love-fest.
I am shocked & disappointed in today's news. However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories @KingJames
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) July 11, 2014
LeBron unexpectedly spurned Miami just like he did the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago, but the responses from the organizations he left couldn’t be more disparate. Whether that says more about the culture of the Heat and Cavs or the growth of James individually, he obviously made an incredible impression on the Miami franchise.
Kudos to Wade, Riley, Arison, and the rest for maintaining such grace and perspective despite LeBron’s choice.
(Statement via the AP’s Tim Reynolds)
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