The Texas Rangers gave their fans plenty of reasons to cheer in the home opener, beating Josh Hamilton and the Los Angeles Angels 3-2. Hamilton was a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP while with Texas before going to the AL West-rival Angels with a $125 million, five-year contract over the winter. He finished 0 for 4 - he was booed during pregame introductions and when he came to bat each time. Those boos became cheers when he took a strike on the first pitch in the second inning, and the sellout crowd of 48,845 erupted when he struck out swinging. After striking out again in the fourth, Hamilton lined out in the sixth and flied out in the ninth.
2 of 18Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/MCT via Getty Images
Orlando fans showed up in droves to express their displeasure with Howard, making signs calling him a coward and "Kobe's kid" and booing him every time he touched the ball. Howard responded to the animosity with one of his strongest performances of the year, scoring a season-high 39 points with 16 rebounds and tying his NBA record with 39 free throw attempts. At one point Howard jawed with the Magic bench, but the night ended on a kinder note as the Lakers center shook hands with the Magic's Jameer Nelson after Los Angeles' 106-97 victory.
3 of 18AP; Greg Nelson/SI
When LeBron returned to Cleveland, the Heat were 11-8. Practices were stilted. Meetings were tense. Fourth-quarters were awkward. It's hard to imagine now, as the Heat puree the rest of the NBA, but they didn't like each other very much. When James landed in Cleveland, he fully expected the outpouring of vitriol he would receive from the 20,000 people at Quicken Loans Arena, the lusty boos and obscene chants, the Quitness signs and LeBum T-shirts. What he couldn't expect was the outpouring of support he would receive from the 14 people in his locker room. The Heat blasted the Cavaliers that night, 118-90, galvanized behind their vilified teammate. They didn't know James well back then, but they cared about him enough to treat his homecoming as their own, and ensure it didn't turn into a roast. James scored 38 points, Dwyane Wade added 22, Chris Bosh 15, and three transcendent talents merged into one. "This is the first time I've seen this connection," head coach Erik Spoelstra said at the time. The Heat won 19 of their next 20 games.
4 of 18Lou Capozzola/SI
Traded Oct. 6 from the New England Patriots to the Minnesota Vikings, Moss didn't have to wait long to exact his revenge. The two played on Oct. 31, and the game itself was relatively uneventful for Moss, as he was held to only one catch for eight yards. He saved his impact for the postgame press conference however, launching into a diatribe for the ages at the podium. Moss was waived by Minnesota and picked up by the Tennessee Titans a week later.
5 of 18Winslow Townson/SI
Shipped to Los Angeles when "Manny being Manny" grew tiresome, Ramirez returned to Fenway Park for the first time in June 2010. Spared the honor of playing defense in front of the Green Monster, Ramirez went 1-for-5 as a designated hitter. His only hit, a sixth-inning single, triggered boos throughout the stadium.
6 of 18AP
Despite hecklers numbering in the thousands, Cutler got the last laugh in his return to Denver, the city that drafted him with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft. After forcing a trade to the Bears in the offseason, Cutler marched into Denver and posted a 106.1 passer rating en route to a 27-17 Bears victory. By the end of the game, the aforementioned boos had shifted from Cutler to Broncos coach Josh McDaniels, who Broncos fans are still stuck with.
7 of 18Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
It took two years, but in March 2008, Iverson returned to Philadelphia for the first time since being traded to the Nuggets in December 2006. The sellout crowd showered their former franchise player with affection, giving him a standing ovation that ended only because the PA announcer continued to announce the rest of the Nuggets lineup. Iverson didn't disappoint, posting a vintage Iverson line with 32 points and eight assists in a losing effort.
8 of 18AP
Ken Griffey Jr.
In June 2007, Griffey returned to "The House that Griffey Built" for the first time since being traded to the Cincinnati Reds in February 2000. When traded, Griffey remarked that he was finally home in Cincinnati. But as the sellout crowd of 46,340 -- who cheered for Griffey for two minutes and 54 seconds --- and a lengthy Mariners video tribute showed, Griffey might have been home all along in Seattle. On that June night, it certainly felt like it.
9 of 18Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Pedro didn't fare well in his return to Fenway Park (3.0 IP, 6 ER, 7 H), but from the crowd's reaction, you wouldn't know it. The Fenway faithful welcomed Pedro's return with chants of "Pedro! Pedro!" as he warmed up before the bottom of the first. And despite his poor performance, Pedro considered the outing a success. "The reception I got, I will always remember that as one of the best moments of my life," he said.
10 of 18Michael Zagaris/Getty Images
In what many thought would be his last appearance at Candlestick Park, Jerry Rice was a relative non-factor. He caught one five-yard pass and received a standing ovation. Rice would return to San Francisco in 2006, when he signed a contract with them, allowing him to retire as a 49er.
11 of 18Bob Rosato/SI
Boos rained down on Rodriguez at every opportunity. Unfazed, Rodriguez quelled the fervor slightly with a two-run home run in his first at-bat. The sellout crowd continued to boo however, when Rodriguez grounded out in his second and third at-bat. Rodriguez claimed the reception was nothing compared to how Seattle fans welcomed him back in 2001.
12 of 18Bob Rosato/SI
A clearly emotional Jordan had to fight back tears in his return to Chicago. It began with a three-minute ovation from the Bulls fans. "When the crowd started that whole thing, it made it tough for me to play," Jordan said, and he was right. He would finish with a career-high nine turnovers and was just 7-of-21 from the floor, finishing with 16 points. "It's like playing a relative," he said, "it's not as intense, you're not quite as motivated."
13 of 18Vince Bucci, Tony Ranze/AFP/Getty Images
Shaq's highly-anticipated return to Orlando, after the franchise center bolted for Los Angeles in the offseason, was a complete dud. An injured O'Neal sat out the game.
14 of 18Tony Tomsic/Getty Images
Whether you left town on good terms or not, Eagles fans are going to boo you. White, arguably one of the greatest players in Eagles franchise history, heard more boos than cheers during his pregame introduction at Veterans Stadium in September 1994. "One guy called me a traitor," White said after the Eagles' 13-7 victory, "But I thought the reception overall was good." Good for Philadelphia at least ...
15 of 18George Rose/Getty Images
Marcus Allen had played his whole career as a member of the home team at the Coliseum. He played four years there with USC, and then 11 more as a Raider. But on Nov. 14, 1993, Allen made his first visit to the Coliseum as a member of the visiting Chiefs. After receiving an ovation from the sellout crowd, Allen rushed for 85 yards and made several big plays that carried the K.C. to a 31-20 victory. After one such play, a Raiders fan yelled up to Al Davis' private booth, "Nice move, idiot," in reference to letting Allen slip away. It was as if he said what everyone was thinking that day.
16 of 18Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Pittsburgh fans are clever. In Bonds' first game in Pittsburgh after leaving the city for a then-record contract with the Giants, Pirates fans blanketed the field in fake money. Bonds was unfazed however, as he went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and three runs scored.
17 of 18Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Dickerson returned to Anaheim Stadium for the first time since being shipped to the Indianapolis Colts in what is considered the trade of the decade. The game didn't sell out, but the fans in attendance let Dickerson know that they didn't miss him. Dickerson prevailed in spite of the negative energy, rushing for 116 yards and catching five passes for 47 yards.
18 of 18Ken Levine/Getty Images
When Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles King in 1988, it was as if Canada had lost a family member. He was a hero who had won four Stanley Cups for the team, and when he left for the bright lights of Hollywood, the country felt betrayed. In October 1988, those feelings of resentment had faded though, and a visiting Gretzky received a four-minute standing ovation from the Edmonton crowd.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!