(CBS) Speculation about LeBron James’ future has reached a fervor pitch, and perhaps nowhere are there more emotions than in Cleveland, where he played the first seven years of his NBA career for his home state.
As James ponders what’s best for him moving forward — and reports are that the Cavaliers are in the picture — we take a look back at his best moments in Cleveland. Could he add to this list?
We’ll have to wait to find out.
1. James wins the 2009 MVP
After a sensational 2008-’09 season in which he posted averages of 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists in leading the Cavs to a franchise-record 66 wins, James won his first MVP award. The award ceremony took place in nearby Akron, his hometown and where it all started.
“This is a place where all my dreams started and where I thought they could become real,” James said then. “There’s really not a better place.”
2. James scores 25 straight points to beat Pistons
With the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals knotted 2-2 and Cleveland on the road in Detroit, James scored his team’s final 25 points to push the Cavs to a 109-107 double-overtime win that paved the way for a berth in the NBA Finals. With 48 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, it’s arguably his greatest performance ever.
3. Buzzer-beating 3-pointer tops Magic
James’ buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Cavs a win over the Magic in Game 2 of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland would lose the series, but it remains his most iconic shot as a Cavalier.
4. James becomes franchise’s all-time scoring leader
On March 21, 2008, in just his fifth NBA season, James became the Cavs’ all-time scoring leader. While that says something about the franchise lacking great talents in its past, it was also a testament to James’ immediate impact and rise to stardom. He surpassed Brad Daughtery on the list with a layup late in the first quarter against the Raptors.
“It means a lot to go down in the history books as the all-time leading scorer in franchise history,” James said back then.
5. James gets drafted No. 1 overall
On June 26, 2003, James was drafted first overall by the Cavs in a no-brainer decision. He was the local kid, and this night set the stage for seven great years — before the heartbreak on him leaving for Miami.