Cheers explode across Cleveland for LeBron James' return home

Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:38pm EDT
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By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Taxis honked their horns and fans cheered across Cleveland on Friday, when news of the return of hometown hero and NBA superstar LeBron James gave the city its second, much-needed boost in a week.

Three days after the Ohio city once know as "the mistake on the lake" was picked as the likely host of the 2016 U.S. Republican Party national convention, James announced he was coming home to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four years with the Miami Heat.

"Horns are blaring on Lorain Avenue now (and it's not for the back ups)," Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman tweeted.

Fans in this working-class city of about 400,000 people on the southern shore of Lake Erie, some of whom burned James' jersey in anger when he left his home state, crowded into local bars, eyes glued to television sets.

"I didn't think he would come back," said Pete Pozzuto, a season ticket holder and contractor for the Cleveland Water Department, whose 12-year-old daughter is a huge fan of James and had not watched the Cavaliers since he left.

"Now she is going to be watching it," he said.

Hans Wolf, 54, who lives in North Canton, said he was excited James and the Cavaliers' billionaire owner, Dan Gilbert, who denounced the player in a letter posted until very recently on the team's website, had resolved their differences.

"It says a lot for him to come back like that," Wolf said.   Continued...

LeBron James reacts after making a basket to give the Heat the lead late in the second half against the Celtics in Boston, March 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder