LeBron James broke the heart of lots of Cleveland Cavaliers’ fans when he left his hometown team for the second time to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent free agency. The departure of James didn’t only take away the Cavaliers’ status as a legitimate title contender, but it also turned them into one of the worst NBA teams in the league. While James and the Lakers look ready to make a huge noise in the deep Western Conference, the Cavaliers are sitting in the last spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-12 record.
On Wednesday night, LeBron James is set to return to the Quicken Loans Arena for the first time as a member of the Lakers. In a recent interview with Joe Vardon of The Athletic (h/t SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll), James said that he expects the Cavaliers’ fans to treat him with more respect compared in 2010 when he and the Miami Heat faced his hometown team.
“Shit, it better not be,” James said, referring to the flaming pile of hate and vitriol few had seen inside a pro sports arena.
It’s not too much for LeBron James to ask such a thing, especially with what he has done for the Cavaliers. Since returning to Cleveland in 2014, James led the Cavaliers to four consecutive appearances to the NBA Finals and helped them win their first NBA championship title.
The day Cavs trades Kyrie, LeBron was adamant on call with GM Altman not to trade him to the Celtics. According to four sources (Cavs deny this), LeBron was then told trade wouldn’t happen. Then, 15 mins later, it did https://t.co/TsjwIVviIp— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) November 19, 2018
However, LeBron James knows he can’t control how people will react and said that he’s “prepared for whatever comes” when the Lakers go up against the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s negative, because the only thing that matters is what I gave to the city, what I gave to that community, what I’m still giving to that community,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, they have one obligation and that’s to cheer for their team. And I’m not on the team. And personally, I’m in a whole different space than I was in 2010, so shit doesn’t bother me.”
Though it remains unknown how the fans will receive LeBron James at the Quicken Loans Arena, Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Cavaliers’ organization are planning to honor the 33-year-old superstar with a special tribute video on Wednesday night. The video is reportedly the Cavaliers’ way of saying thank you to James for what he has done to the franchise and for the 11 great seasons.