LeBron James returns to Cleveland for the first time as an opponent tonight. James returns as a member of the Miami Heat, and Cavaliers fans are going to be quite vocal about how frustrated they are with their former star. Cleveland fans bought up tickets to this game like it was a guaranteed winning lottery ticket, and the match-up has been sold out for months. The expectation was that this was going to be one of the most watched games on the schedule for both teams, and TNT even invested in more cameras (and angles) in order to present everything they can from this game.
It’s hard to claim that the current version of the Cleveland Cavaliers is on-par with the new-look Miami Heat, so the Cavs are really going to need to play off of emotions if they want to win on Thursday night. The Cavs have to be hoping the fans can get under the skin of James and his teammates and that they can prove to their former MVP they can win some basketball games without him.
The Cavs are at 7-10 this season, below where they should be with the amount of salary on the books for that team, but that much worse than the 11-8 record the Heat have stumbled to in 2010 so far.
Emotions are going to be high in Cleveland Thursday night, and hopefully the added security is enough to keep everything under control. It is not just important that the fans show James how they feel, but how classy they can be in doing it. There is a clear line between booing a player any time he touches the ball and attacking his family or personal life. Hopefully the Cleveland fans can stay classy and keep their chants and comments about basketball, and in doing so, they could gain the respect of NBA fans around the league. Stay classy Cleveland, because the world is watching on Thursday night.
The Thursday night game will be broadcast live on TNT, with coverage beginning at 5 p.m. PT (8 p.m. ET). Quicken Loans Arena will be the place to be for any Ohio NBA fan, and nothing would be sweeter for the fans who feel James wronged them than for the Cavs to come through with a dominating performance against the Heat.
The only recent comparison we have to something like this is when Brett Favre left the Green Bay Packers and ended up going to the hated Minnesota Vikings a year later. Tune in and watch this game, because you are going to hear about it on every sports show for the next two days, no matter how it turns out.