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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Cleveland's reputation on line Thursday

By Marla Published: December 1, 2010

LeBron  James' return Thursday night with the Miami Heat puts Cleveland in the national and international spotlight for the first time since James left the Cavaliers in July.

 But even TNT analyst Charles Barkley worries about the volatile situation he and his crew are walking into. The hatred and backlash directed at James since his nationally televised "Decision'' could be a powder keg that will need only a tiny spark.

''We're a little nervous because we don't have any idea what those people are going to do,'' Barkley said Tuesday night on Conan O'Brien's talk show on TBS.

O'Brien replied, ''They're mad. They're so mad at him right now. People are saying these are could be the biggest boos since my second monologue.''

Those who hate James have every right to scream, boo, bring signs and chant at him during the game. But another incident like ''Bottlegate'' and the Indians' 10 cent beer night would only further erode the reputation of Cleveland fans that took a hit earlier this year when an 8-year-old wearing a Jets jersey was tackled by a drunken fan in the municipal parking lot.

Hopefully fans will voice their displeasure with class.



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