LeBron James “will never forget” his “special” time with the Cleveland Cavaliers after he won on his return with the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
James scored 22 points, including two straight scores with under two minutes left, as the Lakers took a 121-115 victory to move to 10-7 for the season.
James was drafted by the Cavaliers with the first overall pick of the 2003 draft, quickly becoming one of the best players in the sport before controversially leaving for the Miami Heat in 2010.
He rejoined in 2014, going on to deliver Cleveland’s first NBA championship before departing again for the Lakers in 2018.
Having won on his return on Saturday, James looked back to his times with the Cavaliers, telling reporters: “[I] spent 11 years here and being able to come back after my Miami stint and win a championship here for this franchise, for this city, I think it was a 52-year [title] drought or something like that in the city of Cleveland for any sports team. I think that was just something that I will never forget no matter how old I get.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 26, 2023
“Stepping back on this floor is always a pretty cool feeling, looking up there and pretty much being a part of all of the banners in this arena. And the number one banner, the one that sits in the middle, was that 16 championship, so that’s pretty cool. It’s just special.
“It’s very special to be a kid from Akron. I grew up 30 miles south of here and to be able to be drafted here and spend my first seven years here and do some special things that the franchise had never seen.
“And when I was drafted, I said I wanted to light this place up like [Las] Vegas. So I feel like I did a decent job of doing that when I was here for my 11 years.”