Sports Illustrated says LeBron James is returning to Cleveland.
In an article on its webpage he said in part: My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.
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He spent his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland. In four years with the Heat, he went to the NBA Finals four times, winning two championships. And now heads back to Cleveland to see if he can finally deliver on his promise of winning a crown for that title-starved city. James is from Akron, Ohio, not far from Cleveland.
Friday's announcement generated excitement in Cleveland. Car horns honked, CNN's Martin Savidge reported from the city.
"We welcome you back with open arms. Glad you're home!," Cavaliers fan Corey Adams posted on the Facebook page of CNN affiliate WEWS.
"Cleveland fans are trying to figure out how to unburn their LeBron jerseys," Twitter user nic_johnston44 wrote.
The news generated intense interest as soon as it broke, around 12:30 p.m. Three of the top 10 trending terms on Twitter were almost instantly related to James.
It even came up in the daily press briefing at the White House. When asked, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said he didn't know if noted NBA fan President Obama had a reaction to James' move. But Earnest added: "The fact that he has made this decision is a testament to the kinds of values that he has incorporated into his life and he says that he is interested in instilling in his children."
"I think it is a pretty powerful statement about the value of a place that you consider home," Earnest said.
Miami Heat owner Mickey Arison just tweeted: I am shocked & disappointed in today's news. However I will never forget what Lebron brought us for 4 years. Thanks for memories @KingJames
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
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The Associated Press and CNN Newsource contributed to this report.