Maverick Carter says LeBron wasn't pushed to Cleveland, made decision 'in his heart'

Maverick Carter, James' longtime close friend and business partner insists he didn't push James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, nor did anyone else in the NBA superstar's inner circle.

Maverick Carter, LeBron James' longtime close friend and business partner, insists he didn't push James to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, nor did anyone else in James' inner circle.

Richard Shotwell / AP

When LeBron James announced his decision to return to Cleveland on July 11, many people found themselves wondering, "why?"

The answer, according to James, is simple. He wanted to come home.

Apparently that answer didn't satisfy everyone and it wasn't long before people were speculating that it was pressure from James' wife and inner circle that pushed him to return to the Cavaliers.

Maverick Carter, James' longtime close friend and business partner insists that's not true.

"This was a decision that LeBron made in his heart," Carter told ESPN.com's Jason Whitlock on the Real Talk podcast. "We didn't push him to do it. We don't push him to do anything. If he asks our opinion or what did we think about the pros and the cons, we help him think through it. We don't push him.

"Listen," Carter added, "LeBron's a 29-year-old man with lots of money, got a wife, two kids, one on the way. He makes his own decisions. He doesn't need anyone pushing him any way, and a guy like that, you're not going to push him either way. We'll help him think through things and help him see through things, but he makes his own decision in his heart. Because, ultimately, he has to live with it. I'm not the one who has to show up and play games for any team."

While it might be hard for those outside of Cleveland to understand James' passion for Northeast Ohio, it's hard to argue Carter's points. At the end of the day, all eyes are on James and the pressure to win in a city that hasn't seen a championship in 50 years is probably greater than anywhere else he could've chosen to play.

Whether or not James made the decision to return to Cleveland "in his heart", he must've known that it would quickly become the biggest story in sports. And the self-proclaimed King likely wouldn't have it any other way.

(H/T FanSided)