Basketball: LeBron James joins the Miami Heat

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The Independent Online

NBA basketball superstar LeBron James will play for the Miami Heat next season he announced live on television to millions watching around the world.

The 25-year-old small forward was an unrestricted free agent after his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers expired and the two-time MVP is set to join fellow NBA All Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.

The decision, aired live on ESPN in America and the UK, ends years of speculation with some teams about where James would play when he became a free agent.

He visited six teams before making his decision – the Heat, Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers.

James explained the opportunity to win alongside two of the NBA’s star players attracted him to Miami. He said: “I can't say it was always in my plans, because I never thought it was possible. But the things that the Miami Heat franchise have done, to free up cap space and be able to put themselves in a position this summer to have all three of us, it was hard to turn down.

"Those are two great players, two of the greatest players that we have in this game today."

James, the reigning MVP, was last season’s second leading scorer in the NBA (29.7 points per game), Wade, playing at Miami was fifth (26.6ppg) and Bosh, who played for the Toronto Raptors was ninth (24.0ppg).

James added: "It's going to give me the best opportunity to win. We're going to be a real good team."

The Heat cleared much of their roster to sign the power trio including sending Michael Beasley, the second pick of the 2008 NBA draft, to the Minnesota Timberwolves.