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(Almost) all hail return of King James

NEW YORK--LeBron James' decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four seasons with Miami sparked a flurry of reaction Friday around the NBA, across American sports and beyond.

But few were as happy as Dave Blatt, who took over as the Cavaliers coach three weeks ago and will make his NBA debut the same night James plays his first game for Cleveland since 2010.

“I'm thrilled with the news,” Blatt said. “It's exciting for the team, the state and basketball. Life is full of surprises.”

Blatt coached Russia to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and Maccabi Tel Aviv to this year's Euroleague crown, but will head a young NBA squad that includes guard Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins, who was the top pick in last month's NBA Draft.

“Welcome back bro. Your city awaits you,” tweeted Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson.

Fan love flowed in the same city where Cavaliers fans burned James jerseys four years ago, crowds cheering and holding signs in support of James near the team's home arena.

Fresh Brewed Tees, a T-shirt maker, sold out of a truck full of shirts with the logo “FOR6IVEN: The Kingdom Restored,” the 6 in place of the letter “G” standing for James' jersey number.

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Cleveland Cavaliers basketball fans celebrate in front of the house of LeBron James, in Bath, Ohio, after learning of James' decision to sign as a free-agent with the Cavaliers, Friday, July 11. The fans tossed powder in the air, like LeBron's pregame ritual.

(AP

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