CLEVELAND — Officially, the Cleveland Cavaliers have two players who will be playing in Sunday's 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. But while he's currently a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James made it clear that he'll also be representing the home team in Cleveland this weekend.
"Cleveland is very deserving of this platform and this moment," James said following the All-Star Game practice at Cleveland's Wolstein Center on Saturday. "I mean, they've got two All-Stars of their own in DG and the big fella, Jarrett Allen. And they've got another guy in the All-Star Game, and that's me."
It would be tough to argue with James' assessment, considering that no player is more associated with Northeast Ohio basketball or the Cavaliers franchise than the Akron native. Over the course of his 11 seasons and two stints in Cleveland, the St. Vincent-St. Mary product set virtually every Cavs franchise record and led the team to five NBA Finals and its first-ever NBA championship.
But the last time Cleveland hosted an NBA All-Star Game, James was -- in his words -- just a kid from Akron. And even 25 years later, the 4-time NBA MVP remembers what it was like to have Northeast Ohio serve as the center of the basketball universe.
"I was just talking about 25 years ago when I was a kid, I was 12-years-old and how I wish I had the means and the ability to come up to Cleveland and just feel that energy and hopefully bump into one of those guys," said James, who is playing in his 18th career All-Star Game this weekend. "I had so many dreams of being an All-Star when I was a kid growing up in Akron."
In addition to being honored as a member of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team, James will serve as the captain of Team LeBron in Sunday's game.
Two of his Team LeBron teammates? You guessed it. Garland and Allen, who are the first Cavs players to make an All-Star Game since James' departure in 2018.