LeBron makes emotional return to Cleveland tonight, new Nike ad shows city standing together (VIDEO)

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LeBron James met with the media at shootaround Thursday, hours before his official return home and the team’s first game of the Cavaliers season, and he tried to tamp down the hype. He wasn’t emotional, just said, “Obviously, it is an exciting time for our city” but said he was going through his regular game day routine. He talked about process. He talked about taking a nap.

Good luck with keeping the emotions of Cleveland in check today.

The season is about process for the Cavaliers, but tonight is about celebration of home.

That city is ready to return to the top of the NBA. It is hungry for a championship. They know tonight starts that ride.

Cleveland is throwing a party for the return of their prodigal son and everyone is excited. I’m not sure if the killed the fatted calf but… actually, Michael Symon probably did, then slowly braised it and served it with morels, fava beans, cipollini onions, and fingerling potatoes. This is an event — TNT sent Charles Barkley to help with the broadcast, ESPN sent the Sports Center set and crew. Clevelanders are partying in the streets, which basically is what they have done since LeBron’s letter announcing his return. You can’t blame them. But it will reach new heights tonight.

Even Nike has a new add out, a well done show of how LeBron and Cleveland are standing together.

LeBron knows it’s just one of 82. He learned in Miami it is about the process, that where the Cavaliers start on Thursday night can’t be who they are come mid-April and beyond when the playoffs start. He knows the work ahead.

But he can’t deny this moment.

Tonight is huge for Cleveland, it’s a celebration of the city and the Knicks are the sacrifice.

The best news for Cavs fans? The best parts of this reunion are still to come.