Sports Monks

Cleveland celebrates a special Thanksgiving on LeBron’s Homecoming

Lebron James played in a chilly evening yesterday in Cleveland, Ohio.  Fitting to the occasion, it was the day before Thanksgiving. As a result, a sea of Lebron jerseys was seen in and around Quicken Loans Arena. The King was returning to Cleveland with another team. Again. This time, however, everything was different.

The last time when Lebron left the Cavs to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in South Beach, there was an uproar by the people of Cleveland. He was supposed to be their savior. And what did he do? Abandon his team to form a super-team in Miami. People burned his jerseys on his return and security had to be beefed up around the stadium. This time, there was no animosity. Lebron had left Cleveland behind him, but still in awe of him.

He had come back to Cleveland and had fulfilled his promise. He gave the people what they were longing for. For 52 long years, the people of Cleveland had to endure defeats in all sports, not just the NBA. And what a way to deliver a championship to these people! Lebron led the Cavs as they rallied from 3-1 down in the Finals and beat the 73-win Golden State Warriors to spoil their party. The people haven’t forgotten that. The atmosphere was filled with love. The people were not going to miss their chance to express gratitude.

As soon as Lebron came out of the tunnel, the people gave him a standing ovation. Every fan in attendance was on his feet clapping and cheering for the King. It was truly a spectacle to witness. An entire city thankful for one person on Thanksgiving eve. It was beautiful. With 8 minutes left in the 1st quarter, during the timeout on the floor, the Cavs played a tribute video.

It captured all Lebron’s highlights as a Cavalier and then transitioned into his work off the court and his contribution to the community. Lebron couldn’t enjoy this video because his head coach Luke Walton was drawing up a play they were supposed to execute out of the timeout. However, once the video ended and he got back on the floor, he raised his arms and acknowledged fans in all directions. He was visibly emotional. Unlike his angry 38pt game when he came back with the Heat, he had a quiet 32-14-7 game. It was as if he didn’t have the heart to score emphatically on this Cavs team. Yet again, he missed 3 crucial late-game free throws, but he didn’t care. Jordan Clarkson almost spoiled Lebron’s homecoming with 2 clutch threes but nobody cared.

In the end, the Cavs lost the game, but nobody cared. It was a celebration of a man who had put the city of Cleveland on the map. And they did a great job of expressing it yesterday. After the game, Lebron said he felt the love from the fans and Cleveland will always have a special place in his heart.

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