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The "King" Returns, The Hate Never Left

As all of you know, Dwyane Wade and his Miami Heat will come to Cleveland tonight to face the Cavs and that, of course, means that LeBron James is coming to town. The first time around, the Cavaliers' fanbase brought all the venom they could muster albeit in vain as the Heat torched the Cavaliers in a game that was never close. As Part II approaches, the media is not nearly as interested in the lowly Cavaliers this time around. Many suggest that Cavs fans have moved on and don't feel nearly as passionate about it as they did on December 2nd. 

Some of my favorite Cleveland writers suggest that we have collectively moved from hate to indifference in this article from WaitingForNextYear. To their prompted question of "does anyone care?" I respond with a resounding YES. Clevelanders are certainly not as obsessed with their former star and have gotten over it to a degree, but I refuse to believe that the general feeling of hate has dissipated. 

When the Heat visited the Cavaliers the first time, Cavs fans had nothing else to think about. The team had no sense of direction for the future and were understandably still hung up on losing James. Now, however, the front office has made some trades and are seemingly have a good start on rebuilding a contender. Mo Williams, one of the players effected most by James' departure, is in L.A. This organization has nearly completed one of the hardest seasons in franchise history and everybody is just ready to get to the off-season and start thinking about the draft. 

I suppose it is fair to say that Cleveland has moved on in the sense that they have better things to worry about now (definitely a good thing). Do not, however, mistake this diversion of attention for a lack of emotion. Cavaliers fans may not be actively hating LeBron James, but if prompted, I assure you that the sentiment remains unchanged. No one forgets how LeBron elaborately dumped the Cavs on national television. It is simply no longer in the forefront of their minds. Tonight, those images will be revisited. Broadcasts will undoubtedly show clips of "The Decision" and even the casual fan will be reminded of James' antics. The feeling I get is that the disdain has not left Cleveland, but has instead remained dormant while the Cavs went along with their business this season. It may take a bit of probing, but once we see him there and are forced to focus on him, the boos will rain down. While it will obviously be difficult to match the intensity that the crowd channelled on December 2nd, this will by no means be a pleasant experience for LeBron. Cleveland fans are among the most passionate in all of sports; I just hope the team will put on a similar display of passion and play the hard fought game that the fans deserve.