LeBron James was in his emotional bag last night.
LeBron James received a hero's welcome upon his return to Cleveland. Fans in attendance were on their best behavior, and so was LBJ as he saluted the crowd following the Lakers' 109-105 victory over a rebuilding Cavs squad. Admittedly, the King wasn't too sure what to expect, and upon settling on his former stomping grounds, he could sense a change in the winds.
"I just felt different from the time we landed yesterday," James said. "From the time we landed yesterday, it just felt a different way. I'm a different person. We're all different from eight years ago, I think, both good and bad."
James, who finished the contest with a monster line of 32 points, 14 rebounds, and 7 assists, retook center position at the Quicken Loans Arena, with the auspicious glare of the home crowd. LeBron, half-expecting a bitter repose, was met with a standing ovation for his past efforts. He responded by pointing to every section of the Agora in a reciprocated showing of respect. It should be noted that Cavs' fans also responded admirably to a one-minute video montage highlighting LBJ's exploits, right before the player introductions.
James spoke about the warm reception after the game. "I appreciate these fans, just as much as they appreciate me," he added. "Every single night we stepped on the floor, they always showed their appreciation to not only myself, but to my teammates over these 11 years, especially the last four years, those championship runs that we were making, so that was just my salute to them for appreciating what I was able to accomplish with my teammates and coaches along those four years."