Heat to play tribute video for LeBron James when Cavaliers visit Miami on X-Mas
LeBron James will make his first return to South Beach in a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform in a highly anticipated match-up with the Miami Heat that will be showcased during the NBA’s marathon of games on Christmas Day.
To commemorate the occasion, the Heat reportedly seem inclined to let bygones be bygones and simply forget about how James spurned the team this past offseason.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, the Heat intend to air a tribute video at some point during the game to honor James and all he accomplished during his incredibly successful four-year tenure in Miami.
From owner Mickey Arrison to president Pat Riley to former teammate Dwyane Wade, many within the Heat organization have expressed — at least publicly — that they hold no ill will toward James for going home to Cleveland.
Heat fans, on the other hand, may not be so forgiving. But Wade recently said the fans should greet James with open arms. Or, if not open arms, Heat fans should at least abstain from booing their former favorite player.
“It’s going to be a mixture,” Wade said, via Bleacher Report. “How I think he should be received is a little different. The man helped take us to places we’ve only been once before he got here. So I think he should be received very well for that at the start of the game. And then when the game comes on, then do what you’ve got to do (as fans).”
If anything, Wade continued, fans simply should appreciate what a fine basketball player James is and forget about any sense of betrayal they may feel regarding James skipping town.
“At the end of the day, the guy is an amazing basketball player and everyone is a fan of the game,” he said. “So ‘oohs and ahhs,’ they come before boos sometimes. I hope our fans are just appreciative of what he brought to this organization in four years.”
James of course has experience in these kind of matters. The response by Cavaliers fans in 2010 in his first game in Cleveland while wearing a Heat uniform wasn’t pretty, as a loud chorus of boos rained down upon him during pregame introductions … a vocal and bitter response that continued each and every time he touched the ball during the game.
James, meanwhile, attempted to downplay his first game back in AmericanAirlines Arena in a Cavs jersey.
“I mean, I seen it when the schedule came out, that it was a Christmas Day game,” James said last week, via Cleveland.com. “So it is there. How much emphasis am I putting on it? I’m not putting much on it. I’m excited to see my teammates, the guys I went to war with, the coaching staff, things like that once I get to that point.
“We have too many games for me to even get to that point. But when it comes up, it will be a great time.”(photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports)