Sports fans who tuned in to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home opener against the lowly NY Knicks were faced with an overblown, over-the-top spectacle of narcissistic proportions.
In case we forget the game was really about LeBron James’ 2nd Homecoming; there was plenty of hype to remind us.
There was comedian comedian Kevin Hart shilling his upcoming movie while praising the basketball god. There was rock band Imagine Dragons debuting their new single, “I Bet My Life”, live onstage. There was CNN anchor woman Rachel Nichols slumming as a court side sports reporter.
The lead up to the game seemed more like a presidential inauguration than a NBA home opener.
In morning shootaround, James said his Homecoming game would rank up there as one of the biggest sporting events ever.
Yes, he really said that.
“For me — none of us — should take this moment for granted,” he said. “This is probably one of the biggest sporting events up there ever.”
AS LeBron spoke to reporters, 15 workers outside the Quicken Loans Arena toiled and labored to unfurl an oversized LeBron James Nike banner that matched the dimensions of LeBron’s massive ego.
It was another reminder in case sports fans forgot that LeBron’s Homecoming was a big deal.
“I don’t feel it, but I know it is. ‘SportsCenter’ is here. A lot of people are here. ‘SportsCenter’ would never come to Cleveland other than this, so I understand,” James said prior to the game.
By the time the pre game hype was over and the Cavaliers starting lineup was introduced, the home fans were over it.
The response to LeBron’s introduction was no more enthusiastic than the response for guard Kyrie Irving’s intro. And don’t think King James didn’t notice.
James’ fist 10 minutes on the floor was probably the worst of his career. He shot just 1 of 9 from the field in the first half. LeBron’s Homecoming fell far short of the victorious Homecoming his ego imagined.
“I’ve had many thoughts of how it might be,” James said before the game. “How loud it may be, how great it is to be back on this floor. It’s going to be exciting not only when my name is announced, but the rest of the guys on our team just coming out on the floor and getting ready for hopefully a great year.”