Matt Bellamy is back. And he is still wearing his LeBron James jersey.
Bellamy, the 29-year-old Sandusky resident who was ejected from an Indians game over the summer for wearing a James No. 6 Heat jersey, is attending Thursday night's game at Quicken Loans Arena.
And yes, he'll be wearing his James jersey again. Only this time, he'll have company. Bellamy said he and "about seven" others will wear Cavs hoodies into the arena until they arrive at their seats. At that time, they'll take off the hoodies to unveil their James jerseys. Bellamy wouldn't say where his seats are located, only that extra security will be near him.
Now the twist: Bellamy is rooting for the Cavs.
"I want the Cavs to win," he said. "But I still respect LeBron. I respect the player he has become. I don't like the fact he left Cleveland, but I'm not going to hate on him for wanting to go get his ring."
Bellamy insists he isn't doing any of this for the publicity -- "I'm over that," he said -- but he and his friends want to show support for James.
Bellamy and his girlfriend were asked to leave the Indians game after nearly inciting a riot in the bleachers for wearing a James jersey shortly after he announced he was leaving Cleveland. He is no longer with his girlfriend, but said it had nothing to do with the summer's incident.
He still gets hate mail and threatening messages, he said, but he was also contacted by the Heat organization after the summer's headlines. They wanted to fly him to Miami, all expenses paid, put him up in a hotel and give him tickets to an early-season game. But he said the organization called 12 hours before the flight was supposed to take off to cancel the whole trip because the Miami media had found out about it.
The Heat promised to do it sometime this season, but that James wanted to make it through this homecoming game first. As for what he expects Thursday night?
"It's going to be a crazy situation," he said. "It's going to be a hostile environment."
And he knows wearing a James jersey will add to the hostility, which is why he is considering leaving the game a little early.
"I'm a Cleveland fan. I want Cleveland to win a championship as soon as they can," he said. "But I still love LeBron and respect his decision. He does what he does for himself. It honestly wasn’t the best decision, but I still love him."
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