Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James discussed his appreciation for the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland following a 116-102 loss to the Cavs on Tuesday at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
"It's always love coming back here," James told reporters. "The memories that I have here will never be forgotten."
The Cavaliers are essentially the hometown team of James, who is an Akron, Ohio, native. They made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft out of high school, and he met and exceeded all of the massive expectations placed on him.
LeBron's first run in Cleveland lasted for seven seasons from 2003 to 2010 before he memorably signed with the Miami Heat in free agency. James went to four straight NBA Finals with the Heat and won the first two championships of his career.
After reaching the NBA Finals once and winning no titles during his first run in Cleveland, James had some unfinished business, so he returned to the Cavs in 2014.
James' second stint in Cleveland yielded the greatest time period in Cavaliers history, as they went to four consecutive NBA Finals and won their first and only championship in 2016.
LeBron left Cleveland again in 2018 when he signed with the Lakers, and while he has experienced some of the greatest struggles of his career in L.A., he also led the Lakers to a championship in 2020, marking the fourth title of his illustrious career.
James is one of the greatest players of all time with 18 All-Star selections, four NBA MVP awards and four NBA Finals MVP awards, and his time with the Cavaliers will perhaps be the defining period of his career.
LeBron is still playing at a high level at the age of 37, but the Lakers have scuffled overall this season with a record of 10-13 after missing the playoffs in 2021-22.
As for the Cavs, they are a team on the rise with a 16-9 record, thanks largely to the offseason acquisition of All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.