Lebron James to face his former team tonight

Superstar Ohio native returns to Cleveland with the Miami Heat five months after his televised departure

Published December 2, 2010 6:30PM (EST)

First came "The Decision."

Now comes "The Derision."

A city's anger toward LeBron James has been gathering like storm clouds over Lake Erie for five solid months now. The locals burned his jerseys, tacked his likeness to dart boards, pulled down his 10-story tall portrait off the side of a building across from Quicken Loans Arena and luxuriated in each and every one of the Miami Heat's eight losses so far this season.

And that was just the buildup.

That's why there will be plenty of extra cops in the vicinity of the arena hours ahead of the 8:17 p.m. EST tipoff. The Cavaliers' front office has been purposefully vague about what fans will be allowed to wear, scribble on signs or even say once they step inside.

Nothing "vulgar, obscene or profane." Everything else, apparently is good.

But just ahead of his team's morning shootaround, Cavs coach Byron Scott warned about underestimating the fans' creativity. He played for the Lakers, Pacers and Grizzlies, but when asked about the most contentious rivalry, he rolled his eyes and replied, 'C'mon man."

The brief pause left no doubt. He was talking about venturing into Boston Garden wearing the hated purple, gold and white of the Lakers.

"It got bad enough to where they were mooning our wives. I hope," he said, breaking into a grin, "it doesn't get that bad."

By Jim Litke


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