Miami Heat fans warmly welcome LeBron James back to South Beach (Video)

Ball Don't Lie

Even though LeBron James is just two months into his first season with this year’s version of the Cleveland Cavaliers, it feels as if James never left Ohio. LeBron may have won two titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013, but his 2010-14 run with that franchise seems like more the work of a basketball mercenary than anything else.

That wouldn’t seem to stop the Miami faithful from giving him the business upon his first return to South Beach. James and the Cavaliers hit the Heat’s home on Thursday afternoon as part of the NBA’s Christmas Day showcase, and here is the response from the Heat from James’ former hometown crowd:

Not too much vitriol, if we’re honest. At the very worst, the cheers and boos were mixed in equal parts. Certainly nothing like the reception LeBron took in when he played his first game as a member of the Heat when they visited Cleveland for the first time in 2010.

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Miami fans, truly, should cheer LeBron James. He made the right basketball decision in 2010 to leave a lacking Cleveland team in order to join the Miami Heat, and he helped gift South Florida with four NBA Finals appearances and two NBA championships. Last July, he made the correct basketball decision to leave an aging and thin Heat squad to pair with Kyrie Irving and eventually Kevin Love in Cleveland.

How correct was (in lower case letters) the decision? His pal Dwyane Wade completely understood James’ jump back to northern Ohio, and bears no ill will toward his former teammate.

The lack of enmity was in clear display just prior to Thursday’s tip-off. Watch:

It’s understandable to boo LeBron James, he did leave a team and city in order to chase down prospects with greater potential. It’s also just as understandable, as the Heat have proven with their in-game video tribute to their former star, to appreciate the fact that the NBA’s best player decided to work out of Miami for four seasons:

(Video via Ben Golliver at Sports Illustrated.)

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