MIAMI — You know you're big-time when you can captivate two cities on one night.
LeBron James did so in the flesh in South Florida on Saturday night, recording 25 points, nine rebounds, nine assists and four steals, while missing just three field goal attempts, in a 114-107 victory against his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers—his 11th victory in 12 games against the franchise he fled in 2010. Five of those points, and two of those assists, came in Miami's 16-7 closing run, as James again fell just short of a triple-double.
"Yeah," James said, smiling, after the win pushed the Heat's record to 17-6. "I don't know what I can do around here. That didn't happen too much in the past, but sprinkle in a little one assist, one rebound now and then from now on, statisticians. But I'll just continue to do what I need to do, and continue to be a triple threat for this team."
He demonstrated that he can do something else while playing: support his hometown, some 1,207 miles away. Saturday night in Akron, Ohio, his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary's, hosted its first basketball game of the season, in the newly christened LeBron James Arena.
Last year, James pledged $1 million to renovate the gym with hardwood flooring, scoreboards, bleachers, lighting, locker rooms and other touches.
Saturday was the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
And, apparently, it had everything—except the benefactor, who was busy carving up the Cavs.
"I got a text from my Mom, and she said it was unbelievable," James said. "She actually did the ribbon-cutting. So she stayed back home and did that. You know, it's special for me to be able to give back to my high school and give back to those kids, man. To have my Mom there, and to have some of my family there, to be able to see that. For the rest of my life, that court is dedicated to me. I can always call that place home."
Even if he never returns to play for Ohio's NBA team.
When the Heat visited that state to face the Cavaliers the night before Thanksgiving, James stopped in at the high school, to watch a practice and see the arena's progress.
"But the way they did it tonight, it was much better than the way I've seen it," James said.
The event, according to the release, included the unveiling of "a 3-D timeline of James' personal, professional and philanthropic history."
A triple threat of another kind.
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