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Charles Oakley Reveals LeBron James Told Him He'd Go To Miami One Year Before 'The Decision'

Charles Oakley Reveals LeBron James Told Him He'd Go To Miami One Year Before 'The Decision'

LeBron James' infamous 2010 'The Decision' TV special and the subsequent consequences were a big event in the league. The King finished his first tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers, leaving the franchise after seven years, one NBA Finals appearance, and many painful playoff exits. 

The King took his talents to Miami, where he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, forming one of the most memorable and polarizing Big 3s of all time. The Heat would become instant favorites to win the championship in the following season, making it to the Finals in four consecutive years, although they only won two titles. 

That was a shocking decision from LeBron, but he apparently let some people know his plans way before they happened. That's what Charles Oakley recently claimed, revealing that James planned on leaving Cleveland and going to Miami one year before he publicly announced it. 

Talking with JJ Redick on his 'The Old Man and the Three' podcast, Oakley recalled the conversations he had with LeBron prior to the 2009/10 NBA season, where he dropped the idea of going to Miami. 

"So basically it was the first two games of the season (2009). I was somewhere and he called me and he said he's gonna be in Florida, Orlando first. Come down I had dinner with him, and we went out had a good time. Steakhouse he always showed people a good time, And then the next night they was playing, it was a back to back, it was in Miami. So he said, 'what you doing?' I said I'm just chilling. He said come on down, I said alright."

"Before that night he said you know what? I'm thinking about going to Miami I said really? that's okay. So I drove down to Miami and called Pat and told him I need a couple of tickets for the game. So, he left the tickets at halftime, he got his special suite he go to and I was in there talking to him. 'What's going on Oak?' I said I'm just chilling."

Oakley contacted his former head coach Pat Riley and dropped a hint that a player he was facing that night was considering joining the Heat the following season. 

"So I said, you know what? I talked to somebody they might be coming here next year. He said 'really?' I said yeah. I said you might be playing against him tonight. He said 'oh okay.' You laugh at that, and the next thing you know the next year, he's in Miami."

LeBron would join the Heat in a very controversial way that earned him a lot of criticism, but he has no regrets about it. There were more things on the King's radar, like the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks, but now that we know he was already thinking of Miami one season before he went there, there wasn't much the other candidates could have done to lure him away. 

He returned to Cleveland after four years in South Beach, won a championship in 2016, and left for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, winning a championship with the Purple and Gold in 2020. LeBron has done whatever he wanted in his career and has been successful on every team. The Decision is still controversial, but nobody can say he made a mistake by joining the Heat.