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Here's Hoping LeBron James' Cleveland Return Is More Deion Sanders Than Michael Vick

In Deion Sanders' return to the Georgia Dome, LeBron James has a tough act to follow.

Getty Images for Estabrook Group

Tonight, LeBron James of the undefeated Miami Heat tries to stay above .500 in his first game against the Cleveland CavaliersHow will he reactHow will Cleveland react? For the sake of drama and theater, we can only hope he tries to emulate Deion Sanders' first game against the Atlanta Falcons rather than Michael Vick's return to Atlanta.

A five-year double-threat and two-time All Pro as a Falcon, Prime left for more money and a title shot as a member of the rival San Francisco 49ers. In his first game at the Georgia Dome he slapboxed with Andre Rison*, proclaimed the building his own, and took an interception back for a touchdown, staring down the Falcons sideline and high-stepping just about the whole way. Fast forward 16 years, and Sanders is having his name hung in the Dome rafters, but that's not the point. 

The alternative would be for him to return a la Michael Vick in Vick's first game at the Dome with the Philadelphia Eagles. Vick laid low and said all the right things beforehand, and his fans who live in the Atlanta area (careful distinction here) cheered him the entire game. You're better than that, Cleveland. Better at staying pissed for a long time, at least.

Cleveland needs the catharsis here. James should maximize their booing opportunities by becoming the villain we all want him to be. For maximum entertainment, we need James to punch Delonte West while staring down the Cavs sideline. He probably already punched West last year anyway, so let's say Mo Williams instead.


Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.