Miami’s reaction to LeBron James’ decision to return to Cleveland has been a different story than what happened four years ago in Ohio.
LeBron’s announcement, which sent the sports world into a frenzy Friday afternoon, has been handled with class and respect from all parties involved. Soon after the news broke, Heat owner Micky Arison took to Twitter and thanked LeBron for everything he accomplished with the team in four years — no letter written in Comic Sans was involved.
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
The Heat organization then sent out a photograph, again thanking LeBron for the memories.
Thanks for the memories http://t.co/ATASOdKdcB—
Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) July 11, 2014
LeBron responded by posting the same picture to his Instagram account, with the caption “Thank you as well!! Memories I’ll never forget.”
Heat president Pat Riley weighed in, too, issuing a statement about LeBron’s departure on the team’s website, showing gratitude for the two NBA titles the superstar helped Miami win, in addition to an understanding of why he was leaving.
“While I am disappointed by LeBron’s decision to leave Miami, no one can fault another person for wanting to return home,” Riley said in the statement. “The last four years have been an incredible run for South Florida, HEAT fans, our organization and for all of the players who were a part of it. LeBron is a fantastic leader, athlete, teammate and person, and we are all sorry to see him go.”
While it certainly helps that LeBron isn’t from Miami and it likely didn’t feel as personal to the city as it did to Cleveland in 2010, the Heat handled the shocking news about as well as they could.