Sportress of Blogitude

LeBron James ‘will never forget’ return to Cleveland for first time with Heat

LeBron James makes his first return to Quicken Loans Arena since signing with the the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason on Wednesday night for a showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The nature of James’ visit inspires conflicting feelings for the Cavs organization and its fans. Not surprisingly, it has drudged up memories of the last time the superstar made a much more controversial return to The Q donning another team’s jersey.

On Dec. 2, 2010, James’ first “homecoming” came as a member of the Miami Heat, a mere five months since “The Decision” where he announced he would be taking his talents to South Beach inspired vitriolic backlash in Cleveland and beyond.

ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst have penned a fascinating and detailed piece about the significant day for both James and the Cavaliers, which includes an oral history from some of players who were part of that fateful day.

James receives top billing in the piece, and the superstar revealed some interesting observations, saying, “I mean, I’ll never forget” that evening.

“It was something that nobody had ever seen before,” James recalled. “Everybody knew the emotions behind it. Cable television made sure that they captured every moment. It was an eerie feeling, just going back. It was an uncomfortable feeling going back because of the situation. And I knew how up in bunches everybody was.”

James recalled that once he reached the court and the game started, he felt he was in a “safe haven,” despite all the boos that rained down upon him during warm-ups, the “loudest” negative outburst by fans he had ever heard in his life.

James stressed how important it was for him to “play well,” which he did, scoring 38 points while adding five rebounds and eight assists in Miami’s 118-90 victory.

The native son is expected to be greeted with a far warmer reception this time around when compared to Dec. 2, 2010. The Cavaliers even have a video tribute planned for the hometown hero. James making good on his promise to deliver a title to Cleveland before he again departed obviously has made a huge difference.