LeBron James’ first appearance in Cleveland after he signed with the Miami Heat was one of the most controversial matches in NBA history.
King James played 7 seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that drafted him as the 1st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, before taking his talents to south beach.
The Cavaliers had a successful stint with James, who led the team to the 2007 NBA Finals. The Cavs also had the best record in the NBA for the next two consecutive seasons as well. The 4x NBA champion also won his first 2 regular-season MVPs with the Cavaliers.
Some of his other accolades with the team include Rookie Of The Year, 2008 scoring champion, 2x All-Star MVP, and multiple All-NBA First team selections.
During the 2010-11 off-season, James made one of the biggest moves in league history when he signed with the Miami Heat. This move changed the entire landscape of the NBA.
On this day in 2009: Heat form their Big Three when Chris Bosh and LeBron James officially sign with Miami pic.twitter.com/8cOOlZ4Xqz
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) July 9, 2016
The 17x NBA All-Star’s televised decision to sign with the Miami Heat was met with heavy criticism. The King was at the wrath of many NBA fans, who felt cheated by his move to the Miami Heat.
LeBron James’ first appearance at Cleveland in a Heat jersey
There is no denying that James’ first appearance in Cleveland since his signing with the Heat was met with some heavy booing and disrespectful remarks by the Cavs fans.
“Oh my God. There was so much hype into that game,” former Cavs forward Antawn Jamison said, “You had a lot of young guys (saying), ‘King coming back, we’re going to show him.’ We were just as hyped for the game as LeBron was.”
The Cavs were clearly motivated to beat the Heat and make a statement that they could win without King James. The night seemed odd for the 4x NBA Finals MVP as well, who was clearly the center of attention that night.
Nevertheless, the Heat defeated the Cavs dominantly, with James having a terrific performance as he notched a 38-points performance on 15-of-25 shooting.
The following loss was the beginning of a slump for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who would go on a 36-games losing streak.
What Antawn Jamison said about this slump, and how they recovered from it
Cavs forwards Jamison was quoted saying, “That night really set us back for a good 15-20 games, after that game, it went downhill. That game sent us down in a tailspin and we never recuperated.”