CLEVELAND: The ESPN and TNT sets are up and an adjacent street concert begins in a few hours. Northeast Ohio is the epicenter of the sports world today and LeBron James has an appreciation for all the attention he has brought to Northeast Ohio.
“This is probably one of the biggest sporting events up here ever,” James said Thursday morning following Cavs shootaround. “A lot of people are here. SportsCenter would never come to Cleveland.”
The Cavs open the season at 8 p.m. against the New York Knicks, who were crushed last night in Chicago. James stayed home and watched most of the NBA games on last night. Now it’s his turn.
James and the Cavs have apparently decided to bring back his famous pregame “powder toss,” which he stopped doing in Miami. James asked fans on social media whether or not to do it and said Thursday morning the results weren’t in. But it’s clear the Cavs are preparing for it.
Each fan that enters Quicken Loans Arena tonight will have a blue Cavs t-shirt on their chair along with a poster and a silver packet of fake powder to toss with James.
“You have to acknowledge and admire once again the decision that LeBron made and the commitment he has made to this state, to this city and it should be a wonderful moment for him,” Cavs coach David Blatt said. “I’m happy for him and I’m proud of him for what he’s done.”
James conceded he’s spent plenty of time wondering what the reception will be like tonight, the applause and how loud the arena will get.
“I understand how much I mean to this team, to this franchise, to this city, to this state,” James said. “It's the path that the man above has created for me and it’s the journey He wanted me to walk on. I'll take the responsibility of what I need to do on the floor and off the floor as a role model and just go about it the best way you can.”