Ohio State Basketball: Will LeBron James’ Return to Cleveland Impact Buckeyes?

LeBron James may have bungled his “decision” four years ago when he elected to take his talents to South Beach, but the letter he dictated to Sports Illustrated describing what it would mean to return home to Ohio was very well orchestrated.

It also struck a chord with those in the Buckeye State.

Clearly, James returning to the shores of Lake Erie will boost the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA title hopes (and box-office sales), but what kind of impact will it have on the sports in the rest of the state? In particular, what about the Ohio State basketball program and athletics department as a whole?

Perhaps with that in mind, the basketball team was very quick to welcome James back to Ohio once the news of his return was official:

Mattaritaville, the official student section at homes games for the Buckeyes, also welcomed James back, and even Urban Meyer got in on the action:

Even when James was seen as public enemy No. 1 in the Ohio sports world, he was always a Buckeye. There is something to be said for that type of loyalty when the state’s fans turned their backs on him. Sure, he never actually attended Ohio State, but he may as well have as far as the public perception is concerned.

James stalked the sidelines at numerous prime-time football games under the lights in the Horseshoe, spoke to the fans at a pregame pep rally last season, showed up with his buddy Dwyane Wade to cheer Ohio State on against Duke a few years back and even has a…

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