LeBron James' position at the pinnacle of the NBA was enhanced even further this summer with his decision to jump ship from the Miami Heat in favor of 'returning home' to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The four-time NBA MVP was given a hero's welcome back in his home state and it was reported that Cleveland businesses received a huge economic boost.
LeBron's decision to start a new chapter in his life hasn't gone down well with everyone however with the player and the Cavaliers coming in for criticism from those bitter about the rekindled relationship whilst in Miami meanwhile they have been struggling to rebuild ever since LeBron's SPorts Illustrated announcement.
That criticism was given a voice on national TV today on a huge scale, with actor turned basketball movie director Michael Rapaport venting his frustration at the whole thing on ESPN's 'First Take.' Even managing to upstage the outspoken pair of Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless in the process.
The former Friends actor was on the show to promote a new ESPN 30 for 30, 'When the garden was Eden', based on the 1970s New York Knicks but it wasn't long before the topic of LeBron came up.
And the well-known Knicks fan wasn't holding back as he tore into LeBron, taking exception to the superstar's decision to quit in Miami after the humbling Finals defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.
"I don't like the leaving, the coming, the going. If I was him, after he got dismantled and fully taken apart by the San Antonio Spurs...while I was still sweating I would have said 'we're coming back next year for one more run'."
Perhaps it was the months spend researching the grainy footage of 1970s team basketball, but Rapaport was far from impressed with LeBron leaving his 'Heat family' on a bum note in order to bring a new group together in his home state of Cleveland.
"Who gets to choose where they work? You don't get to choose to go home...Michael Jordan is from North Carolina, he took over a city...Kobe Bryant is from Italy."
Rapaport's heated debate with Stephen A. Smith really has to be heard to be appreciated in full, and the NYC native wasn't done with LeBron just yet - going on to accuse James of ruining the culture of the game for the next 20 years.
"He is destroying the climate and the culture of the NBA for the next 20 years," he explained when questioning the validity of leaving the group he had been so tight with in Miami.
And there was time for one more startling claim from Rapaport before he was done.
"LeBron James will not finish up his career in Cleveland...There going to win some championships but he's not going to finish his career in Cleveland, there's going to be another phase of his career."
"I hope D-Wade fouls LeBron the same way he did Kobe Bryant in the All-Star game and breaks his nose."
Whatever the truth is behind Lebron's return home to Cleveland, and whatever the outcome of the new 'big three' of James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love and their bid to win an NBA title, one thing is for sure. The eyes of the basketball world will be on the Cavaliers, and many it seems will be hoping to see them crash and burn.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms