- Associated Press - Thursday, December 2, 2010

CLEVELAND (AP) - LeBron James is in the house, just not his anymore.

At 5:33 p.m., and five months after he announced he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers after seven seasons for Miami, James stepped back inside Quicken Loans Arena for the first time as a visiting player.

While it was freezing outside, the forecast inside was for a storm of boos.

After having his bags checked at security, James, wearing oversized glasses, a black stocking cap and leather jacket with the phrase: “Time To Roll” across the back, didn’t say a word as he walked toward Miami’s locker room _ a place he had never been before.

James saluted an arena security guard before ducking inside and preparing for what was expected to be a hostile homecoming for the Akron native.

Moments later, James was back on the floor where he’s had his greatest triumphs. When he was with the Cavaliers, James‘ routine was to get on the court to shoot around hours before the game, and although he’s in a different uniform, that hasn’t changed.

As he practiced 3-pointers, James was circled by a horde of photographers and TV cameras chronicling his every move. He joked with former teammate J.J. Hickson about the young forward’s jumper and then greeted Cavaliers assistant coach Chris Jent.

In the hours leading up to tip-off, everyone offered an opinion on what James was about to experience. Even the nation’s highest-rated basketball player got involved. President Barack Obama added to the drama with a short, simple, and not-so-sweet description:

“It’s going to be brutal.”

That, from a guy who had just gotten 12 stitches removed after getting his lip split open in a rough pick-up game.

This was the night that Cleveland _ and it seems the rest of the basketball universe _ had been waiting for. This was the moment Cavaliers fans had dreamed of, their chance to put James in his place after he had embarrassed them on national television.

The day began with Cavs guard Mo Williams taking a subtle swipe at his former friend and ex-teammate. An avid Atlanta Braves supporter, he sported a Boston Red Sox jacket following the team’s morning shootaround, maybe an early indication of what James, a die-hard New York Yankees fan, can expect for his first game in Cleveland as a visitor.

“It’s almost like your ex-girlfriend coming to your wedding,” Williams said.

The Heat kept to themselves during the day, staying back at their hotel. But following a walk-through with his teammates, James delayed his traditional game-day nap to meet with one of his business partners in the lounge of the Ritz-Carlton.

Once the meeting ended, James headed for the elevator and was asked if he was ready for whatever Cleveland’s fans were about to unleash.

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