It's not just a rumor anymore. This time it's straight from the mouth of King James himself: "This fall, I'm going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat."
LeBron James made the announcement during a live primetime television special on ESPN this evening.
"I don't have any doubts at all," he told ESPN's Jim Gray. "I've slept enough, or the lack of sleep."
James' announcement was met by euphoria from fans in Miami and anger in Cleveland, where the superstar spent his first seven NBA seasons after high school stardom in nearby Akron, Ohio.
James said he informed the Heat of his decision only moments before his appearance on the 9 p.m. ET ESPN special, that he had not given advance word to the other teams bidding for his services, and that the number of people who knew of his decision in advance could be counted on the fingers of one hand.
"I feel like this is going to give me the best opportunity to win and to win for multiple years," James said, explaining why he will join fellow free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. "I want to be able to win championships."
Watch James elaborate further on his decision to join the Miami Heat during an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on ABC News' "Good Morning America" at 7 a.m. ET Friday.
After the announcement, ESPN commentator Michael Wilbon asked James to react to footage of fans in Cleveland burning a James jersey.
"I can't get involved in that," James said. "One thing I didn't want to do was make an emotional decision. I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James and what LeBron James was going to do to make him happy. ... This is a business, and I had seven great years in Cleveland."
Later, he admitted, "To the fans of Cleveland, the times that we had were like no other. ... I feel awful that I'm leaving. I feel even worse that I wasn't able to bring an NBA championship to that city."
James' words were little consolation to the Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans.
"He's one of our own," said one angry fan outside the Hairy Buffalo Bar in Lakewood, Ohio, according to ABC Radio. "He's from Akron. He has a tattoo of loyalty on his body, and he ignored that to go chase a championship with Chris Bosh in Miami."
In an open letter to his team's supporters, Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert declared that "our former hero" had committed "cowardly betrayal" against his hometown, and vowed in boldfaced capital letters: "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE."
Miami Heat president Pat Riley and Wade posted far more ecstatic messages on that team's website.
"We are thrilled that LeBron James and Chris Bosh have decided to come to Miami to join forces with our truly great player, Dwyane Wade," Riley said. "We are looking forward to the opportunity of building something that our fans in Miami will be proud of for a long, long time. The journey is just beginning."
For days, commentators have been following every hint on where the free-agent forward might land, a decision that was seen to mean millions more dollars in profits and vastly improved on-the-court fortunes for whatever team he picked.
A prediction by ESPN's Chris Broussard early Thursday that James would join Wade and Bosh to sign with the Miami Heat caused shares of the New York Knicks' parent company, Madison Square Garden Incorporated, to drop.