<![CDATA[NBC New York - Sports]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York http://www.nbcnewyork.com en-us Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:38:27 -0400 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:38:27 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[WNBA Coach Michael Cooper has Tongue Cancer]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 21:24:09 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP13030709140.jpg

Atlanta Dream coach Michael Cooper has early stage tongue cancer and has taken a leave from the WNBA team.

He will have surgery this week at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta and a full recovery is expected, the Dream said Monday.

The 58-year-old coach is expected to miss about two weeks, with assistant coach Karleen Thompson filling in. Atlanta plays at Minnesota on Tuesday.

"I'm fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection," Cooper said. "I know the team will be in good hands with coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon."

Cooper is in his first season with Atlanta. His team leads the Eastern Conference with a 15-6 record. He coached the East to a 125-124 overtime victory at the WNBA All-Star game Saturday.

Cooper won five NBA titles as a shooting guard with the Los Angeles Lakers during the "Showtime" era from 1978-90. As a coach, he won two WNBA titles with the Los Angeles Sparks and one NBA Development League championships with Albuquerque.

After his second run with the Sparks, Cooper was hired as the women's coach at Southern California. He resigned in March following an 11-20 season, his first losing mark in four seasons.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter Recalls Special All-Star Game]]> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:11:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000004460136_1200x675_310400067959.jpg In this one-on-one interview Bruce Beck, Derek Jeter talks about his new New York City food truck venture Luvo and its aim to deliver nutritious and convenient good. The Yankees captain goes on to talk about his special time at the All-Star Game and his goals for the team for the rest of the year.]]> <![CDATA[McEnroe's Son Allegedly Found With Oxy, Morphine in NYC]]> Thu, 17 Jul 2014 13:11:55 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kevin+mcenroe.jpg

Kevin McEnroe, the 27-year-old son of tennis champion John McEnroe and actress Tatum O'Neal, was arrested in New York City after he was allegedly caught with dozens of oxycodone and morphine pills, authorities say.

McEnroe was arrested late Tuesday after an alleged drug exchange with another suspect on East Fourth Street between First Avenue and Avenue A in the East Village, the district attorney's office said.

Police found 20 oxycodone pills and 10 morphine pills in an inner pocket in his jacket, according to the criminal complaint. 

McEnroe was arraigned on two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance Tuesday and released on $5,000 bail. He's next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 16. 

His attorney declined to comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Derek Jeter's All-Star Goodbye]]> Wed, 16 Jul 2014 08:12:10 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Jeter-ASG-Goodbye-0715.jpg

The All-Star Game telecast opened Tuesday night with Fox’s Joe Buck surveying the impressive talent in the American League locker room as he made his way to the undisputed star among all stars: Derek Jeter. But the Yankees’ captain waved off the announcer, telling him, “We’ve got a game to play, bro.” 

His words, even if possibly scripted, offered a vintage Jeter moment: It’s never about him, it’s all about the game.
Jeter played his 14th and final All-Star contest Tuesday night, in what could be his farewell appearance before a major league-sized national TV audience, barring a Yankees playoff run. The bittersweet milestone marked the latest leg in a victory lap for the future Hall of Famer – and for baseball.
Like his longtime team mate Mariano Rivera, who earned a similar sendoff last year, Jeter emerged as a standout in the 1990s as the game rebounded from labor strife on the bulging backs of sluggers with a seemingly endless capacity to belt the long ball. But the home run heroics turned out to be an illusion fueled by witches’ brews, injected by cheaters who, hopefully, will never see Cooperstown.
Amid the cloud that hung over the game, Jeter shined, not as a slugger, but as player whose dirt-caked uniform testified to an all-out style that sent him flying into the stands after balls. His stats, especially in the post-season (a record 200 hits on the way to five World Series victories), speak to his clutch hitting. With Derek Jeter, there’s no room for illusion: What you see is what you get.
He gave us plenty to watch Tuesday. In the first play of the game, Jeter, at age 40 and in his 20th season, dove for a ball with the verve of a rookie. He later ran full steam as he laced a double in his first at bat and scored the game’s first run. Jeter added to his stature as one of the greatest to grace the diamond – among them his fellow shortstops Ernie Banks and Cal Ripken, Jr., who also embodied a love for the game with their ceaseless hard play and leadership, on and off the field.
Even amid the World Cup afterglow and the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, Jeter’s last All-Star berth on his way to his final Major League at bat provided a potent reminder of why baseball remains out National Pastime, a game equally capable of breaking hearts and sending them soaring. He transcends his storied franchise and the game, with a quiet class to which other players – and other sports – aspire.
Jeter is the kind of player who commands the respect of all who love baseball – even those of us who hate the Yankees. Cheers, from fans and rivals alike, filled Minnesota’s Target Field Tuesday as Jeter left the game at the top of the fourth inning.
Even the commercials packed an emotional punch: A spot for Jordan Brand featured everyone from Michael Jordan to Red Sox fans to Mr. Met tipping their hats to a player who helped mend his sport and will leave it stronger when he caps his career at the season’s end. Check out the clip below as baseball tips its cap to a player who wears No. 2, but ranks higher in the estimation of many who share his love – and respect – for the game.


Jere Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Derek Jeter Ad Creates A Buzz]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 15:32:27 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DerekJeter21.jpg
Fans, celebrities, and rivals alike, are tipping their hats to departing New York Yankee Derek Jeter in a new star-studded ad creating a buzz online.
The commerical honoring the all-star shortstop, who will take his final walk off the field this year after 20 seasons with MLB, debuted online Monday, part of Nike's Jordan Brand. The two minute clip has racked up more than 2 million views ahead of its scheduled on-air debut during tonight's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. 
The Jordan Brand ad features Jeter’s wide fan base from sports stars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, to entertainers including Jay-Z and Billy Crystal - all paying homage to the award-winning captain. Even Boston Red Sox die-hards and New York Mets’ fanatics cannot deny their admiration for him. 
Jeter is respected not only for his talent, but also his character. “You try to carry yourself the right way. I’ve always tried to do that,” Jeter told NBC 4 New York. “I am who I am. I don’t try to be any different.”
The 40-year-old signed with the company in 1999, and became the first Jordan Brand-endorsed baseball player. He is one of Nike’s longest sponsored athletes, according to the Bleacher Report. The world famous brand also awarded Jeter his own RE2SPECT collection.  
The RE2PECT ad will debut tonight on TV during Jeter’s 14th and final All-Star game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Sharks Fans Protest Sexy "Ice Girl" Uniforms]]> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:36:19 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ice+girls.jpg

The San Jose Sharks are taking a hit on social media over their decision to recruit midriff-baring "ice girls" to sweep away the ice, which some fans say is exploitative of women's bodies.

Online petitions, tweets, and a Facebook page called "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls," have already begun to circulate, calling for the team's management to reconsider the design of the ice girls uniforms, the San Jose Mercury News reported Monday.

The ice team, which is "devoted to maintaining excellent ice conditions and energizing the crowd," according to the team's audition page, will include both men and women. But while the men's uniform would include a zip-up jacket, the women would wear cropped long-sleeve shirts, exposing their midriffs.

Under the Frequently Asked Questions section of the Shark's ice team auditions web page, the guidelines state that there is no height or weight requirement for auditions, but "please be aware that uniforms may be form fitting with some skin exposure," and the list of requirements calls for a "physically fit/athletic appearance."

The "Say NO to Sharks Ice Girls" Facebook page calls the outfits sexist and objectifying, stating, "Their decision to change the women's uniform, but not the men's, is inherently sexist and only reinforces a negative double-standard where men are taken seriously but women are sexualized and objectified." 

As of Monday morning, the Facebook page has 705 "likes" since it was created on July 2.

"If the guys are not going to be wearing tightfitting clothing, then why are the girls wearing tightfitting clothing? I don't know where the trade-off is," Jarrod Hicks of San Jose told NBC Bay Area. "And also, it won't make us win a cup, and that's what San Jose wants."

Another Sharks fan tweeted at the San Jose Sharks, "My 6 year daughter plays hockey and Ice Girls is not how I want her envisioning herself. #saynotoIceGirls #SJSharks," Tania Chadwick tweeted.

Other Sharks fans find the ice girls to be a positive addition to hockey.

Michael Alameda, 25, of San Jose told the Mercury News he likes the idea.

"Every sport has cheerleaders, and it's kind of like a cheerleader," he said

In the National Hockey League, 21 other teams have ice girls, many of which have female uniforms that are more revealing than the Sharks', according to the Mercury News.

Sharks management says the current design for the uniforms is not set in stone.

"Once all of the final details are in place, we're confident the final version of the ice team will be very tasteful and appropriate for the city of San Jose and the Sharks," John Tortora, the team's chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron Captures World Cup Streaker in Instagram Video]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:56:23 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Streaker-LeBron.jpg

Basketball star LeBron James posted an Instagram video of a streaker who ran onto the field during the World Cup final showdown between Germany and Argentina.

The game was briefly delayed in the second half when a fan ran onto the field with the words “Natural Born Prankster” written on his chest, according to USA Today Sports.

The incident did not make it on air, as broadcasters cut away to a shot of Christ the Redeemer. James, however, managed to capture the moment and post it on Instagram, which you can see below.

The NBA star captioned the video: “Hahaha!! We're going streaking! Everyone's doing it. Man that was hilarious. #WorldCupFinal #Brazil”

Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup.

Recently, James announced he will be leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

<![CDATA[The Best of The World Cup in Pictures]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 18:48:14 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP448499730854_0.jpg Don't miss the most dramatic images from the games.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Padres' Intriguing G.M. Candidate]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 08:42:17 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/248*120/Kim+Ng.JPG

As of this writing, the Padres have interviewed eight candidates for their open General Manager job. On Friday, they talked with the most intriguing candidate, who also might be the best fit.

Kim Ng is the Sr. Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. She (yes, she) has also worked as the assistant G.M. for the Yankees and Dodgers. Ng has previously interviewed for the G.M. position with Los Angeles (they went with Ned Colletti, who kept her on his staff), Seattle (who chose Jack Zduriencik), and the Padres (who at the time hired Jed Hoyer).

This time around, the Padres would be wise to take a long look at Ng. Her baseball experience speaks for itself. When she joined the Yankees she became the youngest assistant G.M. is baseball history. She did not get that job because of a publicity stunt.

What sets Ng apart from the other candidates the Friars have talked to are two very important selling points most other candidates cannot offer.

One is her ability to win salary disputes. When Ng was with the White Sox in the mid-90's she became the first woman to argue a salary arbitration case, winning the decision for the team against pitcher Alex Fernandez. A money-conscious team like the Padres needs all the help it can get in trimming payroll.

The other is her schooling. Ng earned her B.A. from the University of Chicago in Public Policy (she also played four years of softball there). That means she is keenly aware of the relationship between the people and professional organizations.

The Padres have had more than a few issues with how they've handled public relations in 2014, from the P.A. Announcer situation to the price and size of beer at Petco Park to the interestingly timed firing of previous G.M. Josh Byrnes.

Ng would be a great sounding board in future situations. She has the ability to be a conduit between the fans and the front office.

Now, no woman has ever been the General Manager of a major professional American sport. But, the Padres have come awfully close.

Former owner Joan Kroc was intimately involved in decisions regarding her team (just ask Jack McKeon what happens when you made a move without consulting Joan).

San Diego is one of the few professional sports towns that will not care about the gender of a General Manager. If Kim Ng can help the Padres win, and all indications are she absolutely can, they would be foolish not to give her a chance.


<![CDATA[Dwayne Wade Speaks on LeBron Choice]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:00:57 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/leBron-chanpion+2012.jpg

Dwyane Wade released a statement Saturday to address LeBron James leaving the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James announced his decision in a Sports Illustrated essay on Friday.

Wade has not yet announced where he will be playing next season, although he is expected to sign an extension with the Heat.

“As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey," Wade said in his statement. "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 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.”

<![CDATA[Brewers' Segura Leaves After 9-Month-Old Son Died]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 01:36:53 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/451784002.jpg

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright knew how tough it was for the Milwaukee Brewers to play Saturday after finding out that shortstop Jean Segura's 9-month-old son had died.

But Wainwright had to push those thoughts aside as he pitched seven strong innings to lead the Cardinals to a 10-2 win over Milwaukee for a tie atop the NL Central.

The Brewers lost their seventh in a row.

Segura left the team and traveled home to the Dominican Republic, a day after his 9-month-old son died. The Brewers observed a moment of silence for Janniel Segura, and the clubhouse was closed before the game.

The 24-year-old shortstop was put on the bereavement list when he learned after the Brewers' 7-6 loss to St. Louis on Friday night that his son had died. Manager Ron Roenicke said the boy had been ill.

"When something like that happens, you become a family," Wainwright said. "Baseball as a whole becomes a family. There's bigger things than baseball. I understand that he's going through something that I hope I never, never have to go through. So our hearts and prayers go out to him."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was catcher for the Cardinals when St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile died of a heart problem on June 22, 2002.

"The extended family in (Milwaukee's) clubhouse is hurting right along with him," he said. "You can't help but take a step back and just prioritize life. Prioritize just how fragile it is. It gives us perspective."

"When that happened (Kile's death), we had a lot of guys having a bunch of conversations you typically wouldn't have inside a clubhouse," Matheny said.

Wainwright (12-4) gave up two runs and five hits. He has allowed just four earned runs in his last six starts.

Wainwright helped himself with an RBI single and tied Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon and the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka for the most wins in the majors.

St. Louis trailed Milwaukee by 6 1/2 games on July 1, but Wainwright knows how quickly a team's fortune can change in a week. In fact, he said that a week ago.

"My quote was 'In a week from now, we could be doing a completely different kind of interview,'" he said. "It could be what has turned the season around for. And, that's what's happened. This game is a funny game of ups and downs. The teams that have the most ups and the least amount of downs end up winning the whole thing."

Tony Cruz drove in a career-high three runs and Kolten Wong homered for the Cardinals.

"It's nice to be able to make a little ground," Matheny said. "It just comes back to playing each game the right way."

For the Brewers, it was a most difficult day.

"I think everybody in the clubhouse was affected quite a bit," manager Ron Roenicke said. "I don't want to make excuses. We knew that we still have a game to play and a job to do, but we did not play well today."

The Brewers have lost 11 of 12. They had held sole possession of first place since April 9.

Frustrated Brewers star Carlos Gomez struck out swinging in the fifth inning and tried three times without success to break the bat over his leg. He slammed his helmet and tore up his batting gloves.

Jimmy Nelson (1-1) went 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs and eight hits. He was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Thursday to make his first start since replacing ineffective Marco Estrada in the rotation.

St. Louis took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. A two-out error by second baseman Scooter Gennett on a grounder set up Cruz's two-run single.

Wong hit a two-run homer in the second. It was his fifth home run in the last six games since coming back from the disabled list.

Cruz doubled home a run in the third.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pau Gasol Will Play for Chicago]]> Sun, 13 Jul 2014 06:56:47 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/475702777.jpg

Hours after several reports surfaced that Carmelo Anthony will be re-signing with the New York Knicks, Pau Gasol announced on Twitter that he has chosen to play for the Chicago Bulls.

"It hasn't been easy," Gasol said in the tweet, which he first posted in Spanish. "After meditating it a lot I've chosen to play with the Chicago Bulls. Looking forward to this new chapter of my career."

The Bulls have been looking to add more scoring weapons to their roster and have had several players in the running after a possible deal with their top free agency target Carmelo Anthony was reported to be off the table.

While the Chicago Bulls have not made an announcement about Gasol, several reports indicated they were finalizing a deal Saturday.

Anthony's representatives have not officially announced that he will be returning to the New York Knicks, but a deal with Gasol would likely take the Bulls out of the running for the All-Star forward.

Chicago was among several teams vying for Gasol-- including the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[I Know Why LeBron Is Going Back to Cleveland]]> Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:13:25 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Miami-Heat-November-25-2013.jpg

Today I woke up to a text from my aunt: “Lebron is back!!!”

As a native Clevelander, I can’t help but rejoice in today’s announcement that LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA, is returning home. I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world — especially compared to some hardcore Cleveland fans out there — but I’ve been to plenty of Cavs, Indians and Browns games in my day, and the spirit is in me. LeBron’s decision is huge for the city, and I’m sure most Clevelanders will welcome him home with open arms.

LeBron’s leaving a beautiful place. I’ve been to Miami, and there’s no doubt it has great food, awesome beaches, fantastic culture and cool people. But Cleveland has all those things too, and much more.

Here’s what LeBron will be returning to when he heads back to the Big Plum (yes, that’s one of Cleveland’s nicknames).

1. Realness. Cleveland is not Miami. It never was and never will be. It is what it is. Obviously Miami has plenty of real people living real lives, but in terms of its image, Cleveland is just a humbler, down-to-earth place. It’s been kicked down plenty of times and is well aware of this. LeBron will be returning to a city that is easy to dismiss on the surface but impossible not to love when you get to know it.

When you leave downtown Cleveland — the Rock Hall, the stadiums, the theaters — you find the real place. It’s not about sports, although with three national sports teams, it is indeed a sports city, and the fans here are passionate. It’s not about rock ’n’ roll, even though people here do love good tunes, and the number of music venues proves it. As a city, it’s about the people. They’re hardened but easygoing, eccentric but unassuming.

2. Cleveland Metroparks. It can’t be said enough: Cleveland’s park system is an overlooked gem. It’s what outsiders ignore when they take jabs at the city. Clevelanders love the Metroparks, once dubbed the Emerald Necklace, and see it as a source of pride. Its deep forests, crooked rivers and steep ravines are the perfect places for LeBron to take his family — not to mention that Cuyahoga Valley National Park sits just south of the city, near Akron, Ohio, where LeBron was born.

3. Lake Erie and its seasons. Miami and Cleveland share one thing in common: beaches. And even if Cleveland’s lake is frozen over half the year, that only adds to its charm. You can watch the lake change with the seasons. The trees along it become vibrant and orange in fall. In the winter, strong winds and snow blow off the lake, yielding every kid’s dream, a snow day… maybe two, three or four. 

4. Food, beer and the West Side Market. Cleveland has become a destination food city. Period. From cutting-edge, nationally acclaimed restaurants to hole-in-the-wall spots that have been around for years, the city is host to a vast selection of old-fashioned and ground-breaking cuisine. And it’s being discovered by more and more food lovers every year.

The classic cuisine has its roots in German, Polish and Eastern European countries, but don’t be fooled. You can find food here from all over the world. Middle Eastern food is particularly popular, given the city’s proximity to heavily-Arab south Michigan. Cleveland also has a Little Italy, a Chinatown and a hippie enclave with plenty of vegan fare, not to mention a slew of breweries and the West Side Market, a massive century-old indoor farmers' market.

5. Harvey Pekar and all that he represents. Harvey Pekar, a comic book writer who died back in 2010, is the quintessential Clevelander. If you want to know what Cleveland is at its heart, read his comics and see American Splendor, a 2003 film about his life starring Paul Giamatti. He perfected the comedy about nothing long before "Seinfeld" came along. What he wrote was about everyday life — insights on the ups and downs of working, playing and living. He’s the perfect ambassador for the city. 


I could talk about Cleveland all day: The views of industry gone to naught. The beauty of Lake View Cemetery and its cavernous hills of headstones. Big Fun, a curiosity shop that is weird, wonderful and a staple of my childhood. All the art, history and science museums that you never hear mentioned when people talk about the Mistake on the Lake.

But I think Pekar sums up Cleveland and what LeBron will be coming back to in two lines: “I try and write the way things happen. I don’t try and fulfill people’s wishes.”

That is the Cleveland LeBron will find.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Interactive: LeBron James' Numbers Don't Lie]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 10:58:48 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lebron-return-comparison-cleveland-miami.jpg

When it comes to judging LeBron James as a basketball player, numbers don't tell the whole story, but they certainly make clear what an all-around talent he is, and why the city of Cleveland is rejoicing that he's returning.

His ability to post high numbers in scoring, rebounds and assists, usually in the same game, speak to his depth as a player and how he can dominate a game.

Click below to compare his performances in Cleveland and Miami, and check out the accolades he has garnered during his 11-year career. 



<![CDATA[LeBron's Cleveland Move Triggers Support, Snark ]]> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 19:51:52 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/070714+lebron+james.jpg

LeBron James on Friday told Sports Illustrated that he is returning home to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat. The news immediately made #BackToCleveland, #TeamCavs, #imcominghome, #TheReverseDecision, #BandwagonFans and the like trending hashtags on Twitter as fans, pro-athletes, companies and sports media mavens voice a mix of support, humor and snark on social media.

Even James jumped in the fray with his own tweet and Instagram photo. Scroll down to see what people are saying.

Live Blog LeBron James

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron to Sign With Cleveland]]> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 12:27:43 -0400 http://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/175*120/486300579.jpg

Free agent superstar LeBron James will bring his two NBA championships and four NBA MVPs back to Cleveland, almost four years to the day after he decided to bring his talents to Miami.

James made the announcement in an article in Sports Illustrated Friday.

"Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man. I learned from a franchise that had been where I wanted to go," LeBron wrote. "I will always think of Miami as my second home. Without the experiences I had there, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing today."

James also thanked his teammates, Heat owner Mickey Arison and team President Pat Riley.

"I went to Miami because of D-Wade and CB. We made sacrifices to keep UD. I loved becoming a big bro to Rio. I believed we could do something magical if we came together. And that’s exactly what we did!" he wrote "The hardest thing to leave is what I built with those guys. I’ve talked to some of them and will talk to others. Nothing will ever change what we accomplished. We are brothers for life.  I also want to thank Micky Arison and Pat Riley for giving me an amazing four years."

James posted a photo to Instagram confirming his choice with a photo that reads: "I'm coming home."

Arison tweeted his disappointment in the decision Friday afternoon.

LeBron said the lure of being able to bring a championship to his hometown swung things in favor of leaving Miami.

"Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart," he wrote. "People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now."

James also said he was able to get past the nasty letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote four years ago when he first left Cleveland.

"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?" he wrote.

The heartbreaking news for Heat fans came after a Wednesday full of movement from the Cavaliers. The team cleared out more than $20 million in salary cap space to offer LeBron a full max contract of between $88 million and $118 million, depending on whether the Heat and Cavaliers exchange James on a sign-and-trade or he simply leaves Miami with no compensation from the Cavs.

The loss of LeBron is a devastating blow to a team that went to the NBA Finals for four straight seasons from 2010 to 2014, winning back-to-back championships during that run.

It’s hard to overstate James' value in Miami for the past four seasons. From the court to the tourism industry, James has been one of the biggest draws to South Florida outside of South Beach itself.

James has averaged 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game since joining the Heat. He took over the team's leadership after the Heat lost the first NBA Finals with the Big Three and ran off two straight NBA championships before losing this year to the San Antonio Spurs.

LeBron took on more of the load in Miami, but he also elevated his game. He won MVP awards and NBA Finals MVP awards, and he was arguably the defensive player of the year for at least two of those seasons.

The Heat deployed James all over the court, having him guard any player on the other team’s roster. LeBron also elevated his post play while with the Heat, letting Miami play a smaller, quicker lineup that ended up abusing NBA opponents for two seasons.

LeBron’s win-share with the Heat, or the number of wins contributed by a player, averaged 16.3 over his four years in Miami. James’ win-share per 48 minutes was always at least twice and almost three times the league average during his four seasons with the Heat.

The King’s shooting also went to another level in South Florida. James’ true-shooting percent – which takes into account 2-point shots, 3-point shots and free throws – jumped from 59.4 percent in his first season with the Heat to 64.9 percent in his final season.

James’ value extended far beyond the court.

The Heat sold out the arena for four straight years, including the playoffs. According to ESPN, that’s given the team's regular-season ticket sales a boost of at least $60 million, compared with the prior four years.

ESPN reported that in total, LeBron is worth about $161.3 million over a three-year contract for the Heat. Forbes went further and estimated that LeBron's departure will hurt the Heat’s value by as much as $100 million.

Downtown Miami may take a hit with the loss of LeBron, but a statement issued after his decision was made public said they are ready.

“Downtown Miami’s resurgence was well underway before The Big 3 arrived, gained momentum alongside four consecutive championship runs, and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. LeBron’s decision to take his talents to downtown Miami in 2010 was rocket fuel for our city’s global brand, and we’re grateful for his contributions over the past four years.”

With LeBron gone, the Heat faces an unknown future that could be completely devoid of any major superstars. Power forward/center Chris Bosh has a max contract offer from the Houston Rockets and without LeBron, may take the offer to join a competitive team next season.

That would leave long-time Heat star Dwyane Wade as the only remaining member of the Heat’s Big Three. However, Wade is also a free agent and can choose any team he likes, should he decide not to return to South Florida to play with a team that he doesn’t consider a contender.

With James’ decision to leave, the Cavaliers jump into contention for the Eastern Conference championship, alongside the Indiana Pacers. If Bosh leaves for Houston, the Rockets move up the ladder to a top three team in the Western Conference.

But for Miami, the Heat now enter the free agent signing period with the top players gone, $55 million in salary cap space and the only players guaranteed to be on the team next season being rookie point guard Shabazz Napier and point guard Norris Cole.

Heat fans have total confidence in Riley — but this time, the man who put together Showtime and the Big Three came up short. What happens with the Heat, Riley and the rest of the NBA remains to be written.

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