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Pat Riley On LeBron James' Return To Cleveland: "That’s A Pretty Damn Courageous Thing That He Did And Selfless Thing."

LeBron James

When thinking back on some of the defining moments of LeBron James' career, his decision in 2010 cannot be looked over.

After 7 seasons playing for his hometown Cavs, James announced his decision to bolt for the sunny beaches of Miami on live television, prompting a wave of media backlash at the time. He was called a traitor and a coward by fans, who saw his move as nothing short of a betrayal.

Four years later, he was hailed as a hero when he made his triumphant return.

As, arguably, a bigger and bolder move, James' move back to the Cavaliers sent shockwaves throughout the NBA and it's not a moment people will be quick to forget.

For many Heat fans at the time, LeBron was the source of heartbreak. But for team President Pat Riley, who watched James leave his squad like a partner returning to their ex, it's a decision that he now calls 'selfless' and 'courageous.'

(via The Athletic)

“I thought it was the most normal thing for him to do,” Riley said. “Somewhere in your life, you have to clean up something and be able to move on. I always felt that even after he left Cleveland and came to Miami for professional reasons, he’s going to have to go back to his hometown one day, or he’s going to have a scarlet letter on him for the rest of his life.

“So that’s a pretty damn courageous thing that he did and selfless thing to go back to Cleveland, to rebuild that team. Had he never done that, there was a possibility that he’d have a hard time being accepted there.

“He did the right thing.”

Winning the title in 2016 was the ultimate validation for the King. Bringing a Championship to the city for the first time in 50 years completed a powerful story that remains one of LeBron's best career accomplishments.

And while there's no telling if he will ever return to the Cavs, he has done all he needs to do for that franchise and there's no telling what more he'll do in the final chapter of his career.