The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly plan on doing things right this time around. According to Rachel Nichols of ESPN, the Cavs plan to show a tribute video for LeBron James when he makes his return to the Quicken Loans Arena in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform on Wednesday.
As Nichols notes, the Cavaliers didn’t have a tribute video when James made his return to Cleveland with the Miami Heat in 2010, but they did do something else:
Cavs say they will have a tribute video for LeBron tonight; most likely in the first quarter.— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) November 21, 2018
(There was no tribute video in 2010 when LeBron came back here for his first game after leaving for Miami. They did play Darth Vader music when he was introduced that night tho )
To say Cavs fans were hostile toward James in his return on Dec. 2, 2010 would be a gross understatement. In fact, James told ESPN that he had never been boo’d so hard in his life:
“Once I hit the court, I’m in my safe haven. Once I hit the court in warm-ups, you could hear the boos. It was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard boos in my life. I felt the animosity. I felt the scrutiny. But once the ball was tipped, I’m in my safe haven. There’s nothing that can stop me from trying to be the best I can be.”
At the time, it was understandable why Cavs fans had some ill feelings toward their prodigal son. He was the chosen one. It was said that he would destroy the Heat, not join them.
However, this time around, there’s no reason James should hear a single boo from the home crowd. Why, you ask? Let’s go through the list together:
- He left the sunny beaches of Miami, Florida to join a 33-win Cavaliers team who had just fired their head coach for the second time in two seasons. There was literally no incentive for him to do that other than love for Ohio.
- He brought Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought to an end in 2016 and gave the Cavs their first NBA championship in franchise history in just his second year back with the team.
- The LeBron James Foundation, in partnership with Akron Public Schools, founded, designed and helped fund the I Promise school, a public school intended for underprivileged kids in Akron, Ohio.
If the fans in Cleveland don’t make James’ eyes misty with the love he feels in the arena, they should have to do community service or, in extreme cases, spend the night in jail.
Do the right thing, Cleveland. Don’t boo LeBron James.
You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.