LeBron James made the decision to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2018 offseason. Of course, this was met with a fair amount of criticism, as he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time. Despite this fact, the former No. 1 overall pick won an NBA title in his second year in Los Angeles.

Prior to that, James returned to the Cavs in 2014 after winning two championships in four seasons with the Miami Heat (2012 and 2013). He was “coming home,” and fans in the Northeast Ohio area were thrilled to have the Akron native on the roster again.

With James aboard, the Cavs were suddenly back in contention. Cleveland had failed to reach the playoffs in each year of his absence. In fact, the Cavs compiled a league-worst 97–215 record in the four seasons following his departure. In his first season back, though, he led the team to a 53-29 record, which was good for a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

James and the Cavs went on to make history in 2016, defeating the Golden State Warriors in epic come-from-behind fashion (down three games to one in the NBA Finals). However, The King lost his running mate that offseason, as Kyrie Irving asked for (and got) a trade.

LeBron stayed with the Cavs for one more season before making his decision to join the Lakers. James later described that last season with Cleveland as one of the strangest of his career. The Cavs made it to the Finals again, but they were defeated by a familiar foe in four games: the Golden State Warriors.

James opted out of his contract with the Cavs on June 28, 2018, and became an unrestricted free agent. In the seasons leading up to that point, speculation began to mount about his interest in playing for the Lakers, as he already had a home in Los Angeles and several off-the-court business interests there.

Some fans in Cleveland thought James would ride off into a Wine and Gold sunset with the Cavs, but that wasn't to be. On July 1, 2018, LeBron's agency, Klutch Sports, announced that he would be joining the Lakers on a four-year, $153 million contract.

“In 2010, when (LeBron) went to Miami, it was about championships,” James' agent, Rich Paul said, via Sports Illustrated. “In 2014, when he went back to Cleveland, it was about delivering on a promise. In 2018, it was just about doing what he wants to do.”

James' first season with the Lakers didn't go as well as he would have liked, as he missed a career-high 17 consecutive games due to a groin injury. Prior to his injury, Los Angeles was in contention for a spot in the postseason. Without him, though, the team fell further and further out of contention. It was the first time that LeBron had missed the playoffs since 2005.

The Lakers traded for Anthony Davis the next offseason, in turn sending several talented young players to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the deal. The move paid off in a big way as the Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals in the Orlando Bubble.

Despite the Lakers' injuries in the 2020-2021 season, they have a shot to repeat as NBA Champions and make history in the process after finishing as the 7-seed in the Western Conference.

In the end, James' decision to join the Lakers was a good one. He seems happy with the choice, and he's playing for a truly historic franchise. After all, he signed an extension and it appears as if the storied career of LeBron James will have its final chapter end in purple and gold.