LeBron James apparently made a popular move leaving the Miami Heat for a return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Heat star and Ohio native opted out of his contract with the Heat earlier this summer, and then in July, announced that he would be returning to Cleveland. The move immediately earned him back into the good graces of most Cavaliers fans, many of whom burned his jerseys after he very publicly dumped them in 2010.
Now it appears the rest of the country is following suit. A poll taken this month by California-based E-Poll found that LeBron’s popularity had reached the highest point since before he left Cleveland the first time.
James saw his E-Poll score reach 87 in January 2010, but it sank to 47 shortly after joining the Heat. It reached a low of 40 following Miami’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, then rose again to 70 when the Heat won their first title with him.
Now, LeBron James has climbed back up to a score of 80, which pollster Gerry Philpott said was not only his return to Cleveland, but also the team’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
“He has been on a roller coaster, with all the peaks and valleys you’d expect,” said Philpott, E-Poll’s president and CEO. “I think the loss to the Spurs actually helped him, made him look more human, and then his coming back to Cleveland, and the way he did it, did even more to change how people viewed him. I think a big part of that was how deep he went on admitting why his original decision wasn’t handled right.”
LeBron James has made headlines for just about everything during his return, from the cupcakes he sent to his neighbors in Ohio caught up in the media blitz to his announcement this week that he would wear No. 23 again.
The move has created a bit of controversy as LeBron once said he thought the number should be retired league-wide, but the most famous No. 23 said he had no problem with LeBron borrowing the number.
In a text to Chris Broussard of ESPN.com, Jordan said he’s “cool with” Lebron James going back to No. 23, which he wore both in high school and his first stint in Cleveland. Apparently, LeBron James is even popular with Air Jordan.
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