jlIn case you missed the news, the social media flurry, gossip on the streets, and general state of panic that the city has been in over the weekend, LeBron James is officially going back to Cleveland.

When LeBron James announced he would be “taking his talents to South Beach,” he was off by just a few miles. He came straight to the heart of downtown Miami, just as things were beginning to heat up.

James quickly became an economic engine for the area, with a Miami Downtown Development  Authority study estimating that the Miami Heat, the area, and the urban core’s economic impact on the area has totaled a whopping $1.4 billion a year.

Miami Heat Championship ParadeThere’s no doubt about it that the superstar has had a hand in branding downtown Miami. Thanks to the amazing run of the Miami Heat over the past few years, our ever-changing skyline has been broadcast to TV screens across the country. When people think Miami, it’s not just beaches and palm trees — it’s the AAA and city lights.

So, will LeBron’s exit lead to economic catastrophe? That’s unlikely.

LeBron joining the Heat may have put downtown on the map, but the economic boom that’s followed was already brewing before he arrived. Business and commerce is active and healthy, with or without the Heat’s star player.

As Alyce Robertson, executive director of the DDA says, “Downtown’s Miami resurgence was well underway before the Big 3 arrived, gained momentum alongside four consecutive championship runs, and won’t be slowing down anytime soon. LeBron’s decision to take his talkents to downtown Miami in 2010 was rocket fuel for our city’s global brand, and we are grateful for the contributions over the past four years.”

While a rebuilding team may not draw as much hype as a stellar, championship winning team, it’s safe to say that downtown Miami visitors aren’t short for options on what to do. LeBron may have brought the spotlight, but what downtown had to offer and will continue to offer will be there regardless of him.

And as for sports fans? Well, Miami Heat fans will stick with their team through thick and thin, or so we hope. And, just in case you need to air out your frustrations, the kind folks at The Ticket are holding a song contest that will let you do just that.

You can read more here, here, and here.