"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.
I’m ready to accept the challenge. I’m coming home.”
#RE2PECT: There’s enough basketball in this to be applicable for the site. Plus, all the chills.
"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. 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.
I feel my calling here goes above basketball. I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously. My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from. I want kids in Northeast Ohio, like the hundreds of Akron third-graders I sponsor through my foundation, to realize that there’s no better place to grow up. Maybe some of them will come home after college and start a family or open a business. That would make me smile. Our community, which has struggled so much, needs all the talent it can get.
In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.”
Kyrie passes to himself. Joe Johnson grabs nothing.
JOHN STOCKTON, ON MEETING KARL MALONE:
"He’s just a country kid, and we’re in Salt Lake and I’m just a year into it [his career]. I said to him, ‘We could drive up into the mountains, that’s gorgeous. Or maybe we could…go to the zoo?’ And he said, ‘Zoo? Sounds good. Let’s go.’ So we had a beautiful afternoon there. Pretty peaceful.
He wasn’t very recognizable at that time and I certainly wasn’t and we walked all around the zoo unaccosted and enjoyed the day looking at the animals. We’ve been best of friends ever since. He’s a good man from a completely different area than I was and we both felt completely at ease talking to each other. It’s a relationship I’ve been really proud of for the past 30 years.”