NBA Heated Homecoming: Celtics vs. Cavaliers Game 5, Did LeBron James Quit?

Alfred Konuwa@@ThisIsNastyFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2010

With less than one week until LeBron James' heavily anticipated return to Cleveland, I thought it necessary to reflect on the critical events that brought us here. 

The most significant free agency period in NBA history was on the horizon, and the most prized free agent to be was still playing in the Eastern Conference championship.

James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were tied with the Boston Celtics (who entered the series as a lower seed) 2-2, and found themselves in a critical home game against the veteran team.

What followed is one of the most infamous and debated Game Fives in Eastern Conference semifinal history.  The Celtics blew away the home favorite Cavaliers 120-88.  It was a game that caused many to wonder whether or not James had quit on the Cavs after putting up an uninspired 15 points and seven assists when Cleveland needed him most.

The Cavaliers would go on to lose the series in six games, a surprisingly early exit from the 2010 NBA playoffs despite being the No. 1 overall seed in the East.

Many interested onlookers, most notably the entire population of Cleveland, bit their tongues about the possibility of James quitting in that game.  However such tongue-biting turned to embittered tongue-lashing once James would ultimately, um, cash (?) in on the aforementioned free agency period and sign with the Miami Heat.

All of a sudden, the terms "quit" and "LeBron James" were practically neighbors as Google trending topics.

Following his decision (for lack of a better word) to go to Miami, Game 5 was now looked at with a more disdainful, microscopic lens by those who may have been inclined to let it slide had James remained a Cavalier.

Game 5 took on a life of its own.

Former Cleveland beat writer Brian Windhorst weighed in, saying he doesn't think James quit.

Dwyane Wade came to his new teammate's defense, submitting he didn't think James quit either.  Cavs point guard Mo Williams didn't appreciate that.

Cleveland thought he quit.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert didn't say LeBron James quit Game 5.  He said he quit Games 2, 4, 5 and 6.

Finding its own cozy place in infamy, Game 5 became a catalyst for a newly hated James following the controversial manner of his departure—a departure that will be discussed in-depth in the next installment of Heated Homecoming.

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