Lebron James will return to Cleveland tonight to face his former team of seven years. And there are absolutely no false pretenses that, excuse our French, shit won’t get rowdy. Cavaliers fans are already warming up their vocal chords to give him a raucous welcome home, and NBA officials have amped up security in the Quicken Loans Arena in anticipation of the game. This summer, when James made the decision to take up residence in South Beach with the Miami Heat, he watched Cleveland fans send his number 23 jersey up in flames, and read Cavaliers owner Dan Gibert’s infamous Comic Sans letter, which accused him of “cowardly betrayal.” Gilbert claims he’s since moved beyond the shock, and is now encouraging Cleveland fans to be classy during tonight’s game, but who does he think he’s kidding? Dedicated Cavs fans have created a detailed chant sheet, which they will distribute prior to the game, in an attempt to synchronize the taunts that will fly Lebron’s way tonight.
His return to Cleveland comes on the heels of the Cav’s current five-game losing streak, the most recent of which was Tuesday night’s 106-87 loss to the Boston Celtics. Before the game, James’ former teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, announced that he would take bets on whether or not Bron Bron would be brave enough to unleash his trademark talcum powder cloud before Thursday night’s game. “I’m anxious to see him do the powder thing,” he said. “We have bets he won’t do it.”
Shaq might want to amend his bet by 8pm, because James has confirmed that he will bravely keep the tradition alive tonight. After admitting that the game will be “difficult” and “emotionally draining,” Lebron says that he will still have fun, and looks forward to seeing his jersey hanging from the rafters in the Quicken Loans Arena one day. That might take awhile, but for tonight, just in case he loses his spine, his Miami Heat teammate Dwyane Wade will take care of the powder theatrics. “He’s done it for every game he’s played so why change for just one game?” Wade said. “If he doesn’t throw it up, I’ll throw it up for him.”