LeBron James will be making his first and only trip back to Cleveland of the season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night and, quite frankly, it’s pretty hard to figure out how Cavaliers fans might welcome him back.
Well, to be clear, there is a right and wrong way to welcome the player responsible for the entire city’s first professional title in 52 years, but alas. Fans will be fans. George Hill isn’t here for any negativity though, as he told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (h/t Lakers Outsiders):
“If you boo him, you’re an asshole,” Hill said. “He just means too much to this city, to this organization.”
Hill is one zillion percent correct. James should be welcomed with a standing ovation for the Herculean effort it took to topple the 73-win Golden State Warriors en route to that aforementioned NBA championship. Especially after going down 3-1 in the series.
It isn’t like the Cleveland Browns have done anything close to even mediocrity for the city, but Joe Thomas is seen as some kind of hero around Cleveland. Cavaliers fans should think of James’ departure to Los Angeles as a form of retirement from having to deal with Dan Gilbert rather than a normal free agency move.
All this is before you mention what James has done for the greater Ohio area off the basketball court. Dude literally helped build a school and could help revolutionize the way inner-city kids are educated. Imagine even considering booing someone who could have that kind of impact not only on the city/state you live in, but the entire damn country.
So, yeah. Hill is absolutely right about anyone who boos James Wednesday night. It’s one thing to hold off on applauding. It still isn’t a great look, but sure. Be salty. It’s another thing altogether to rain down boos on a man who has done more than just about any other person in recent memory for that city merely because he decided he wanted to play basketball somewhere else.
Here’s hoping Cavs fans do the right thing, here. At least James is ready if they don’t.