LeBron James returned to Cleveland for the first time as an opposing player on Thursday, as the Miami Heat took on his former team, the Cavaliers. Once worshipped in Ohio, LeBron faced a slew of ill-tempered fans who were still bitter about his "Decision" to take his talents to South Beach last summer. But he thrived amid the arena full of constant boos, and tallied 38 points, eight assists and five rebounds in Miami's 118-90 win. As for his hometown reception? Well, here's a look at Cleveland's "welcome."
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You remember the "Witness" car -- that souped-up Cutlass Supreme with Lambourghini doors and a petition for LeBron to stay in Cleveland on its hood. Well, since The King bolted for Miami, the car has undergone some minor alterations.
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And remember that huge "Witness" mural of LeBron that hung in downtown Cleveland? Well, this 25,000-square-foot, 10-story, 1.3-ton banner, courtesy of Sherwin Williams, has replaced it.
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And in Cleveland Hopkins Airport, there's a new "Witness." Cliffs Natural Resources, a minerals company with deep roots in Cleveland, launched a publicity campaign to raise its profile at the expense of LeBron James.
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This was the front page of The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, on Thursday.
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Former LeBron fans have now devoted their attention to another James: Queen James.
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The Queen retains No. 23, King James' jersey during his seven-year stint as a Cavalier.
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Cavs fans were already prepping for LeBron's return as their team faced the Celtics earlier in the week.
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It may be safe to assume that Cleveland is still a bit upset by LeBron's departure.
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No, this isn't like when a couple gets hitched and they make their car all tacky. There are no celebratory, cheerful sentiments here.
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By the way ... this was also Zydrunas Ilgauskas' homecoming, too. Just in case everyone forgot. Cleveland didn't boo him though.
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On-site shredders: There when The Q needs them.
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And more "Quitness." I think we get it.
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As expected, Cavs fans were ruthless, reiterating many of their anti-LeBron chants on huge posters.
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Charles Barkley dared him during the pregame show -- and LeBron did it. He did the chalk toss.
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The crowd was loud, but the performances by LeBron and the Miami Heat silenced them by the second half.
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