George Hill says LeBron James has done too much for the Cavaliers and northeast Ohio to get booed by fans Wednesday.
LeBron James will play his first game in Cleveland as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday and George Hill does not appear to want Cavaliers fans to give him a negative reaction.
There isn't quite as much anticipation for this return as there was when James played his first game in Cleveland with the Miami Heat back in 2010. Thanks to guiding the Cavaliers to their first championship in 2016 and the general perception of many that James was more justified leaving Cleveland the second time around, the hate toward the four-time MVP appears to have dwindled.
Add in all the charitable contributions James has made to the area such as his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio and the full college scholarships he is helping to sponsor along with the University of Akron, and it seems like there's a chance James gets a standing ovation from the crowd.
But what about those who still want to boo James?
"If you boo him, you're an ass----," Hill told Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. "He just means too much to this city, to this organization."
Although James likely appreciates Hill's sentiment, he said he understands if he doesn't get a hero's welcome Wednesday despite all his success with the Cavaliers. James added that he hopes the reaction isn't as aggressively nasty as it was in 2010 and that his main concern is about how he can keep giving back to the community even if he doesn't play for the local team.
"It doesn't matter if it's negative, because the only thing that matters is what I gave to the city, what I gave to that community, what I'm still giving to that community," James told Joe Vardon of The Athletic. "It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, they have one obligation and that's to cheer for their team. And I'm not on the team.
"And personally I'm in a whole different space than I was in 2010, so s--- doesn't bother me."
The Cavaliers have the worst record in the NBA going into Wednesday's contest at 2-13. The Lakers are 9-7 and have won five of their last six games.