He made that clear when he returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014 and he’s showing it again with his rooting interest in a battle of Ohio.
When the NIT begins Tuesday night, MAC regular season champion Akron Zips take on the Ohio State Buckeyes, creating a dilemma for the Ohio-native James.
"Obviously, I’m torn," James said when asked about the game following the Cavs’ loss in Utah.
James has openly supported Ohio State — decked out in scarlet and grey at some football games — but deep roots take precedence. Akron head coach Keith Dambrot was James’ high school coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.
"He helped shape me to who I am today as a basketball player," James said.
James was born and raised in Northeast Ohio, which he expounded upon in his "Coming Home" letter announcing his free agency decision.
"It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart," wrote James. "People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son."
Action between the 6-seed Zips and 3-seed Buckeyes tips off at 7 p.m. The winner will face either Florida or North Florida in the next round.