CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 11, 2021.
For the first time in more than two years, LeBron James will take the court in the city he spent 11 years of his NBA career.
On Monday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Los Angeles Lakers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, which will mark James' first game back in Cleveland since the 2018-19 NBA season. Last season's matchup between the Cavs and Lakers was ultimately cancelled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, depriving James of his annual scheduled return to Northeast Ohio.
"Was so looking forward to being back in Cleveland tonight playing in front of my family, friends and fans I spent 11 years of my career with," James tweeted on March 26 last year, the day the Cavs and Lakers were scheduled to play in Cleveland. "Always a special place in my heart! Until next time!"
As it turns out, "next time" will be Monday, with the Cavs entering the contest having won three of their past four games. Yet despite Cleveland's surprising 8-8 start, it enters Monday's game having suffered a 141-103 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
The defending NBA champion Lakers, meanwhile, enter Monday's matchup tied for the NBA's best record at 13-4. Through 17 games, James is averaging 23.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.5 assists, with fellow All-Star Anthony Davis adding 22.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per night.
Tip-off between the Cavs and Lakers is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.