LeBron James looks set to make his first return to the American Airlines Arena on Christmas Day 2014.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the NBA has all but decided that the Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to take on the Miami Heat on one of the league's most popular days.
The official announcement of fixtures for the 2014-15 season will not be made until mid-August but Jackson has reportedly been privy to an "unofficial internal schedule" which is highlighted by the much-anticipated Cleveland road trip to the American Airlines Arena.
Christmas come early
Christmas Day games have long been a tradition in the NBA, and have, over time, become the date on which the most hyped games (including much-anticipated local rivalries) take place so as to capitalize on the casual basketball fans the holiday occasion naturally draws in.
And the return of LeBron James to the city with which he had such great success, and was treated as such as star, undoubtedly meets those specifications.
It will certainly be an odd site to see LeBron patrolling the floor down in Miami in something other than a Heat jersey. He had success performing that role during his Cavaliers days however, scoring 390 points in 13 games between 2003-2010 including a 47 point haul in March 2006.
Prior to his shock return to Cleveland last month, LeBron James enjoyed a hugely successful four year spell with the Miami Heat and his efforts are likely to grant him a positive reception when he runs out onto the Heat hardwood in a Cavs #23 jersey.
Winning two NBA titles and reaching four consecutive NBA Finals, the four-time MVP was at the peak of his powers down in South Florida and whilst his departure was met with sadness and surprise by many Heat fans his exit was far less unceremonious than when he made the reverse journey back in 2010.
James penned a heartfelt letter to explain his decision to return to his native Ohio, thanking the Heat franchise and its fans for their support between 2010-14. Irregardless, the Christmas Day fixture will mark the first time he will face his former teammates in Miami and makes for a sure-fire ratings hit come December 25th.
Fans of both Eastern Conference franchises will not have to wait until December to witness their two teams come face to face however.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are due to take on the Miami Heat in a preseason game in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil on October 11. One thing is for sure though, the Christmas fixture is sure to contain far more emotion and fireworks for all concerned.
Get your tickets quick because this is one regular-season game that could go down in history.
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