James heard both jeers and cheers when he warmed up in his first game back at AmericanAirlines Arena since returning to Cleveland last summer.
During the announcement of starting lineups, he was the first player introduced for the visiting Cavaliers and the public-address announcer simply stated, "No. 23, LeBron James." Before there was much of a reaction, it was on to the next Cleveland player introduction.
James participated in his usual pre-tipoff routine. He powdered his hands, sending a cloud above the scorer's table, and traded hugs with All-Star guard Dwyane Wade and other former teammates from the Heat.
The two-time NBA most valuable player pointed toward the Miami bench and pounded his chest in a sign of love for the team that he helped win two championships in a four-season run during which the Heat reached the NBA Finals each year.
During the first commercial break of the game, a highlight video was played that television announcers called impressive. After the minute-long video tribute, James waved to the crowd as he received a standing ovation.
“I gave everything and more to this city when I was here,” James said in an interview before the game. “Never disrespected this city or the franchise, or any of my teammates. Everything is professional. I gave it all. That's all I can do.
“What me and my teammates created here while we were here, it's going to last forever. You can never take that out of the books. You can never take that from anything. Whatever else that comes with it, we'll deal with it then.”
The Heat would give their fans something to cheer with a 101-91 victory over the Cavaliers. Wade led Miami with 31 points while forward Luol Deng finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.
James scored 30 for the Cavaliers.
Internet and wire reports contributed to this story.