With the 2014-2015 NBA schedule due to be released within the next month, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe believes that the season will open with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs playing in Cleveland for the return of LeBron James:
Rumor has it that the NBA’s season-opening game on TNT will be San Antonio at Cleveland, the first home game for LeBron Jamesin his return to Cleveland and the first game for the defending NBA champion Spurs. The NBA schedule is expected to be released next month.
At this point in time this story is nothing more than a rumor, but it is an exciting one. This offseason was dominated by the story of LeBron James opting out and eventually returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It is fitting that the season would begin with the league's best player returning home to one of the league's most passionate fanbases. While some Cavaliers fans were mocked for how they handled his departure, it's that same passion that drew LeBron back to Cleveland and made him realize how much this team meant to Ohio and Cavs fans worldwide. As he put it himself:
It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now.
There is no doubt that LeBron's first game back in Cleveland will be one of the most emotional and powerful sporting moments of the year, and it would be a very appropriate way to kick off the 2014-2015 NBA season.
While this decision would excite Cavs fans, there is a chance it might upset fans of the Spurs, who are somewhat notorious for their feelings of being jilted by the league. The Spurs had an outstanding season last year that culminated in a title. The defending champ generally opens at home. But hosting this game in San Antonio would likely still result in the bulk of the attention being put on LeBron's first game back with the Cavaliers.
LeBron's return to Cleveland is the ushering in a new era and new contender in the NBA, and there would be no better opponent than the one of the most dominant teams over the past decade and a half.