Nothing captures the holiday spirit quite like a grudge match between a star player and his former team.
As per Jackson:
Barring an unexpected change of heart by the league, Christmas in Miami will feature LeBron James’ much-anticipated return to Miami, in an opposing uniform. Though the NBA’s schedule will not be finalized and released until mid-August, an unofficial internal schedule of select games has Cleveland playing the Heat in Miami on Christmas on ABC, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The game likely would be played at either 2:30 or 5 p.m. that day, depending on what other game is selected for ABC that day.
ABC wants Heat-Cavaliers that day and the NBA is sensitive to ABC’s wishes. James returned to the Cavaliers this offseason after spending four seasons with the Heat.
This would be the Heat’s sixth consecutive Christmas game, but just the second at home during that stretch. Last Christmas, the Heat beats the Lakers 101-95 in Staples Center.
Presuming this year’s game materializes, the Heat will have played a Christmas game every year since 2004 with the exception of 2008, when Miami was coming off a 15-67 season. The Heat is 8-2 in its previous 10 Christmas games. With the schedule still being worked on, it’s unclear if the Christmas game would be the first of what will be three or four Heat-Cavaliers games this season.
Of course, both teams are going to meet in Brazil during the preseason. But, there’s no denying this could be a marquee game with multiple storylines, not the least of which is how Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company will respond to James.
Should the game take place in Miami, I would hope that fans would remember James’ amazing play during the past four years in Heat history and graciously welcome him back. There’s no better way to prove that he might have made the wrong choice than by showing that Miami’s fans – unlike the Cavaliers faithful that booed and insulted James in 2010 – can take the high road.