LeBron James will never forget what happened on December 2, 2010. That’s the day he went back to Cleveland to face the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first time after leaving his hometown for the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010 as an unrestricted free agent.
When LeBron announced he was signing with the Heat, Cavaliers fans burned his jersey in the streets. They were heartbroken and felt betrayed by the Ohio native. Cavaliers majority governor Dan Gilbert was so furious that he posted a letter on the team’s website guaranteeing his franchise would win a championship before LeBron.
There was extra security at the Quicken Loans Arena the night LeBron returned to Cleveland. Fans were ready to boo the King and shout expletives at him. LBJ knew that would happen. However, he didn’t expect 9-volt batteries to be thrown on the court.
Fans threw batteries at LeBron James
LeBron told Rachel Nichols of ESPN in 2017 that Cavaliers fans threw batteries on the floor during his return to Cleveland. Heat security guard Rob Brown confirmed the story in 2018.
“What wasn’t made up were the 9-volt batteries being thrown on the court,” Brown told ESPN in 2018. “I remember a member of the NBA’s security team wanted to call the game because there was so much coming at us during the game and we were basically ducking behind the scorer’s table just to not get hit.”
Cavaliers fans booed and yelled at LeBron all night. However, the All-Star small forward got the last laugh.
LeBron James torched the Cavaliers
LeBron dominated the Cavaliers from start to finish. He put up 38 points, five rebounds, and eight assists while shooting 15-of-25 from the field. The four-time MVP finished with a plus-minus rating of +26 as the Heat won by a final score of 118-90.
“Once I hit the court, I’m in my safe haven,” LeBron said about his first return to Cleveland in 2018. “Once I hit the court in warm-ups, you could hear the boos. It was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard boos in my life. I felt the animosity. I felt the scrutiny. But once the ball was tipped, I’m in my safe haven. There’s nothing that can stop me from trying to be the best I can be.”
LeBron and the Heat lost the 2011 Finals to the Dallas Mavericks in six games. Gilbert and Cavaliers fans were thrilled to see Miami lose since LeBron was still ringless. However, Gilbert’s guarantee that his team would win a title before LeBron came crashing down in 2012.
Heat won back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013
LeBron led the Heat to back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013. Miami defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 Finals and the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 Finals. LeBron won both Finals MVPs and finally etched his name in the history books by becoming a champion.
In 294 regular-season games with the Heat, LeBron averaged 26.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.7 assists. He won back-to-back regular-season MVPs in 2012 and 2013 and is the franchise leader in triple-doubles, points per game, and player efficiency rating.
In the summer of 2014, LeBron went back to the Cavaliers to finish some unfinished business. With the help of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, King James helped Cleveland win the 2016 championship over the Golden State Warriors in seven games. The Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals, and LeBron won his third Finals MVP with his hometown team.
There are two dates LeBron will never forget in his life: December 2, 2010, and June 19, 2016. As aforementioned, the former date is when he first went back to Cleveland, while the latter date is when he won a title with the Cavaliers.