LeBron James walked away from the comforts of home to chase an NBA championship.

Perhaps the most hysterically hyped free agent in sports history, James announced Thursday night on national TV that he plans to leave Cleveland to join the Miami Heat for a chance to play with Olympic teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

It’s a power trio that could rock the league for years to come.

“I can’t say it was always in my plans because I never thought it was possible,” said James, who wrestled with his decision for weeks. “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.”

Add in James, and Miami has a three-headed monster.

Ending weeks of round-the-clock speculation, the two-time MVP said he was uncertain until the eleventh hour before deciding that the only way he could fulfill his dreams of winning multiple championships was to leave his home state and a city that hasn’t sprayed championship champagne in 46 years.

“It’s going to give me the best opportunity to win,” James said. “We’re going to be a real good team.”

Olympic teammates four years ago in Beijing, James, Bosh and Wade all helped deliver gold medals while playing for the U.S.

This time the superstars will pursue another gold prize — an NBA trophy — the one Wade got in 2006, the one that James and Bosh have yet to touch.

“Winning is a huge thing for me,” said James, who left more than $30 million on the table by not signing with Cleveland.

It’s a huge victory for the Heat, who got Wade and Bosh, a five-time All-Star with the Toronto Raptors, to agree to take less money on Wednesday so James could join them. The Heat president, Pat Riley, was able to corral the top three stars in an unprecedented free-agent class.

While Miami is building a dynasty, Cleveland is devastated.

In a city scorned for generations by some of sports’ biggest letdowns, James’ long-awaited words that he is leaving represented a defeat perhaps unlike any other. Fans so accustomed to disappointment have been let down again — this time, by one of their owns sons.

Not long after James’ decision was announced, one of his jerseys was shown being burned in the city’s streets.

“I can’t get involved in that,” James said. “I wanted to do what was best for LeBron James At the end of the day I feel awful. I feel even worse that I wasn’t able to bring an NBA championship to that city. I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be around that area. But I also felt like this is the greatest challenge for me, is to move on.”

James’ decision ends nearly two years of posturing and positioning by teams hoping to add the 6-foot-8, 260-pound physical force of nature to their roster. He famously announced at New York’s Madison Square Garden in November 2008 that “July 1, 2010, is going to be a big day.”

He wasn’t kidding. When the clock struck 12:01 a.m. last Thursday, a free-agent frenzy unlike any before it got under way, with enough speculation, rumor and second-by-second intrigue to last a lifetime.

James, Wade and Bosh were wined and dined by suitors who spared no expense to make them feel special.

Last week the Heat, Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls converged on Cleveland to make their sales pitch to the league’s most wanted man. The Cavs only had to drive across town to meet with James in the business offices of the local superstar, who grew up in a single-parent home in the Akron projects and has known no other pro basketball home.

The Cavs appealed to James’ loyalty, his Buckeye roots and the fact that this is where he is raising his two young sons, to keep him. They hired Byron Scott as their new coach last week.

None of it worked.

“We believe in this team, this organization, this community, and what we will do to compete at the highest level,” Cavs General Manager Chris Grant said in a statement that did not mention James. “We believe in the new coach and leader we have in Byron Scott, and the world- class basketball organization, and positive and strong culture we’ve established.”