CLEVELAND - Tonight marks the long-awaited return of Kyrie Irving to Quicken Loans Arena as he and the Boston Celtics will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on opening night of the NBA's regular season.
Anticipation will be everywhere at the Q, from how will the new-look Cavs fare, to what will the reception for Irving be from the crowd?
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sat down with ESPN's Rachel Nichols for an interview and among the topics was James' reflections about his first game back at the Q when he left the Cavs and joined Wade and the Heat in 2010:
"They will be fine," James said of Irving and the Celtics. "People were throwing batteries at us."
Things were so tense on December 2, 2010, that the man who performs as the Cavs' mascot, Moondog, wore a bulletproof vest under his costume when he took the floor for the national anthem, according to the new book "The Blueprint: LeBron James, Cleveland's Deliverance, and the Making of the Modern NBA," by Jason Lloyd.
ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin notes that for that game against the Heat, the Cavs had to arrange for dozens of extra police officers to work the game -- both in uniform and undercover -- in anticipation of a hostile crowd.
The Cavs are doing their part to make tonight's game as cordial as possible for Kyrie. The team has put together a video tribute to Irving that will be shown sometime during the evening.
For his part, James is excited to be a part of tonight, even if his status is unclear. The four-time MVP is still recovering from a sprained ankle and is expected to be a game-time decision. On Monday, James tweeted the following:
LeBron also had nothing but pleasant things to say about his former teammate, Kyrie Irving. "At the end of the day, the kid did what he wanted to do," James said to Nichols. "That was his destiny. Like I said, you know, the three years that we had together, unbelievable three years, and, you know, I wish we could have continued that, but, it didn't work itself out. So, now my energy is to the guys that's, you know, in The Land."
See you at the Q tonight.
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