“Delonte West” chants will fill up Quicken Loans Arena tonight when LeBron James returns to Cleveland.
As the underachieving Miami Heat visit James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the fan reaction to James will be at least as big a story as the game itself. Already, a ‘chant sheet’ is circulating in Cleveland that gives chant suggestions to the fans at the game. The chant sheet organizes chants among the crowd, which will be over 20,000, and provides guidelines as to what to chant at LeBron and when.
For example, in the first half of the first quarter, the chant sheet instructs the fans to chant “No-Ring-King” whenever James has the ball or is at the foul line.
At other times, the chant sheet contains chants such as “Scott-iee Pi-pen”, which is a reference to Michael Jordan’s sidekick, and a suggestion that James is now merely a sidekick to Dwayne Wade.
While most of the chants are funny and some are clever, the one that promises to be the most controversial of the chants is scheduled for the first half of the fourth quarter when the fans will chant, “De-Lon-Te” repeatedly.
The ‘Delonte’ chant will be in reference to the reported affair that occurred last season between James’ mother Gloria, and his teammate Delonte West. West is now a member of the Boston Celtics, but shortly after the end of the playoffs last season, in which West’s and James’ Cavaliers were eliminated by Boston, speculation ran rampant that James learned of West’s affair with his mother during the playoffs and it caused his distracted and seemingly disinterested play.
While most major media outlets stayed away from the story, at least at first, it was referred to cryptically by ESPN’s Colin Cowherd and Bill Simmons on their respective shows. Cowherd, in fact, said West’s alleged sexual affair with James was a major reason why James avoided New York City, and its bright spotlight, when making his free agency decision. Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy also stated definitively that he believed that the story was accurate.
A newspaper asked West directly about it after he became a Boston Celtic. He denied the allegation, though used very curious words in doing so, which seemed to only add to speculation.
Tonight, as the Heat and Cavaliers play, there will undoubtedly be a tension in the building anyway. But when the Delonte West chants start in earnest, it will be interesting to see how LeBron James reacts.
Cavaliers Fans Chant Sheet