Apparently, a homecoming isn’t really a homecoming until your hate-filled comeback turns into a love-fest that involves fans begging for your best player to suit up for the state where he was born.
Case in point: LeBron James’ Wednesday night return to Ohio to take on his old team before hosting his squad for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s quite understandable why this stop on the Miami Heat’s reunion tour is a little more important than Michael Beasley reuniting with the Phoenix Suns and much more intense than Chris Bosh’s upcoming trek back to Toronto.
The King’s return is a full time event. So much so that the Associated Press even mapped out some of the fans’ plans:
“[Josh] Raggi and three partners — one them, James Blair, the fan who ran on the floor [last year] — launched ‘Come Home LeBron,’ a campaign to show James that northeast Ohio doesn’t hate him. The group plans to hand out T-shirts outside Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday night. A ‘Come Home LeBron’ billboard went up near St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, James’ beloved alma mater, on Monday.”
The four Cleveland Cavaliers faithful claim that this is no groveling session, but it is well known that their team was set up for a playoff push that would hopefully entice LeBron back into Dan Gilbert’s house.
Unfortunately for Gilbert, he built something that’s not exactly jaw-dropping.
His Cavs are tied for the fourth-worst record in the NBA. His coach — and LeBron’s ex — Mike Brown is going at it with a star (Kyrie Irving) that would rather dribble through five guys than pass the ball to an open one.
His second-year shooting guard (Dion Waiters) has had to deny accusations that he broke said star’s nose and gave him a black eye during a players-only meeting, and his No.1 overall draft pick — Anthony Bennett — is currently overweight and shooting a horrendous 21 percent from the field.
All of that, and I did not even mention Gilbert’s prized free agent signing, Andrew Bynum, who is one of the few people whose knees are talked about more than Dwyane Wade’s and Greg Oden’s.
So despite fans trying to make amends for their owner’s mouth and burnt jerseys, why would the Cavs be an option when Cleveland isn’t even his town?
“It’s [Akron] not far, but it is far,” James told GQ Magazine in 2010. “And Clevelanders, because they were the bigger-city kids when we were growing up, looked down on us [in Akron]…. So we didn’t actually like Cleveland. We hated Cleveland growing up. There’s a lot of people in Cleveland we still hate to this day.”
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