LOS ANGELES — The Cleveland Cavaliers beat LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers 114-100 on Sunday.
But as far as James is concerned, it's all love for "The Land."
Throughout Sunday's matinee matchup against his former team, James wore a Cleveland-inspired colorway of his signature Nike LeBron 20 sneaker. Dubbed "The Debut," the white shoe features a gold and red swoosh, reminiscent of the colors the Cavs wore during James' rookie season two decades ago.
Taking to Instagram following the game, James confirmed his choice of footwear vs. his former team was no coincidence.
"For The Land," James captioned a close-up photo of the shoes, along with a heart emoji and the hashtag #ThekidfromAKRON.
"The Debut" version of the Nike LeBron 20 is expected to release to the general public in December.
As for James, the four-time NBA MVP turned in an impressive performance vs. the Cavs, scoring 27 points on 13-for-23 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. The Akron, Ohio, native's effort, however, wasn't enough to overcome 33 points from Donovan Mitchell and 24 points from Darius Garland, as Cleveland won its eighth consecutive game to move to 8-1 on the season, with the Lakers falling to 2-7 with its second straight loss.
Asked about the state of his former franchise following Sunday's loss, James referenced comments he made about the Cavs during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Cleveland this past February before praising the team's acquisition of Mitchell in a blockbuster trade with the Utah Jazz.
"I got in trouble last time for just giving an honest opinion. I got in trouble for that. Which, I don't care, so I'll give another opinion," James told reporters with a smile. "Listen, they did a great job in the offseason of picking up a big-time player. Obviously, between them and [the] New York [Knicks], a lot of people were just looking to see who was going to get [the trade] done. I think we saw last year what team they could become. And obviously with Evan [Mobley]'s injury and Darius [Garland]'s injury, they ended up slipping towards the end and having to play in the Play-In [Tournament] and we know what happened with that.
"They have a really good team and a great coach and a bunch of kids on their team that just seem like they want to play ball. And that's -- you don't see -- I'm looking at their roster and you don't really see too many guys all over social media showing off they got this and showing off they got that. Seems like a bunch of guys that just like coming to work and wanting to play ball. And that's definitely probably a joy for a coach and coaching staff like that. Just knowing you have a bunch of kids that just want to come in and play ball and then a grandpa who looks over everybody in Kevin Love. I mean, that's great."