He heard the boos rained down upon Kyrie Irving, upon return to Cleveland after forcing his way off the Cavaliers, and LeBron shrugged. Here is a video of his comments.
“That was nothing. What do you want me to say? I’ve experienced big boos before. That was like a pat on the back. It could never… I love our fans to death. That was nothing.”
To be fair to Cavaliers fans, the gruesome Gordon Hayward injury sucked the air out of the building and made booing someone for changing teams seem petty. The energy in the building was understandably never the same after that.
But even before the injury, this wasn’t the same level of hatred that had been reserved for LeBron before in Cleveland. In part because LeBron handled his exit poorly (not that Irving was smooth, but there were no television shows to broadcast the decision) and LeBron was the native son seen as deserting his family. It was different.
Kyrie Irving had 22 points but, with LeBron guarding him, missed a three-pointer to tie the game, and the Cavaliers won 102-99.