A few reporters were still mingling on the field at InfoCision Stadium today when two women in the front row got my attention.
"Where is the event organizer?" one of them said. I sort of dismissed her and said I didn't know, since I really didn't and the event was over anyhow.
"LeBron is on his way," said the other one. I kind of chuckled, thinking it was a joke. But before long, word spread throughout the field that, yes, the king was coming.
In one of the more surreal moments I've ever seen, James walked into the stadium as fans were piling out. I was walking up the steps when I heard he arrived. Heard, as in, the squeals and cheers and crush of people surging toward him. Security pushed spectators back as James walked down onto the field and addressed the crowd.
Apparently it was a spur-of-the-moment decision for James to attend. One of those nothing on tv, already ate lunch, nothing else to do at 1:50 p.m. on a steamy Saturday, so I guess I'll go.
Regardless if he stays or leaves, James' appearance should go a long way in healing old wounds. The Cavaliers' flameout in the Eastern Conference semifinals, coupled with LeBron's eerie silence on all things Cavaliers lately leaves an ominous cloud hanging over the franchise.
For James to at least make an appearance -- albeit after the ceremony ended -- address the crowd and thank everyone was a huge step in patching what damage has been done.
You can't read into the fact James attended the rally. Had it been held in Cleveland, I'm fairly certain he wouldn't have attended. But Akron is completely different to James. This wasn't about James staying or leaving with the Cavaliers, it was simply a hometown kid saying hello to neighbors.