LeBron James' decision to return to Cleveland in 2014 was popular among many NBA fans. After leaving his home state and winning two NBA titles with the Miami Heat, he declared his new goal was returning to the Cavaliers was to bring a title to the championship-hungry town.
But James' decision wasn't made without protest from those close to him. In an informal discussion in a barber shop that took place in February with Draymond Green on hand that aired on YouTube on Friday, James said his closest confidants -- his mother and wife -- were not supportive of returning to Cleveland.
"I mean for me, personally, when I decided to go back to Cleveland, I had to decide -- because our owner at the time when I left decided to put out this [censored] article that we all know about where he completely bashed and disrespected not only me as an individual, but disrespected my name. My name is not just myself it's my wife, my kids, my grandmother, my mother.
"So for me, when I decided to go back, and I talked to like Mav, Rich and Randy and everyone and I had to let them know cause some people were on the fence - even my wife and my momma was like 'f*** that, I ain't with that.' My mom was definitely like 'f*** that, we ain't going back.'
"For me, it was more, I had to be finally like 'You know what mom, it ain't really about that. Me going back is more of a bigger picture, and more about all these kids, all these people who need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I am that way out. So as much as my mom means everything to me, and as much as my wife means everything to me and my kids. My mom was like, 'You go back, I ain't going back with you.' She was like, 'I'm staying in Miami.' I had to be like, 'Let's not worry about the small s***, and let's worry about building something that's bigger than our name.' "
The Cavaliers won the NBA title with James last season after overcoming a 3-1 Finals deficit, and are in the midst of their third-straight Finals appearance since he returned to Cleveland.
Game 4 of the Finals tips off at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night.