KEY POINTS

  • LeBron James recounted his title run with the Cleveland Cavaliers
  • James said going back to Cleveland is always special
  • The Lakers were supposed to play the Cavs on Thursday

It has been nearly two years since LeBron James played his last game representing the Cleveland Cavaliers. But the NBA superstar said the team, which resides in his home state, will always hold a special place in his heart.

James spoke about his former team on Thursday, the very same day he and his Los Angeles Lakers would have faced the Cavs if it had not been for the league suspension due to the Coronavirus.

The three-time NBA champion recounted how he led the Cavs to their unprecedented run in 2016 when they defied the odds, coming back from a 3-1 Finals series deficit to dethrone the Golden State Warriors, who had a historic 73-9 regular season record, giving the franchise its first championship in league history and the city its first major professional sports title in 52 years.

"It's always special going back there and looking up there and look at that banner," James said in the Road Trippin’ Podcast with former teammates Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, and Allie Clifton of the Lakers’ broadcast.

"Think about all the great memories that we had. And then being able to play in front of my friends and family again. That would have been so cool. ... I'm kind of bummed out about that,” he added.

James played 11 seasons in Cleveland. He started his career as a Cavalier after being selected first overall in the 2003 NBA draft. Seven seasons later, he left the team and went to South Beach. But after winning two championships with the Miami Heat from 2010-2014, the multiple-time league MVP flew back to Ohio and served a promise, which he delivered just two seasons into his return.

"When I decided to leave Miami -- I'm not going to name any names, I can't do that -- but there were some people that I trusted and built relationships within those four years [who] told me I was making the biggest mistake of my career," James said, per ESPN, moments after the title-clinching Game 7 in 2016.  "And that s--- hurt me. And I know it was an emotional time that they told me that because I was leaving. They just told me it was the biggest mistake I was making in my career. And that right there was my motivation."

"I knew what I was doing. I knew what I was doing, and I mean, tonight is a product of it," he added. "I didn't know it was going to happen this way, though," he said. "Oh my God! Down 3-1, versus a team that's 73-9, that lost one game in the playoffs at home.”

LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and the Cavs will bring back most of their championship squad for 2016-17's title defense. Photo: Getty