LeBron won’t be rooting for Buckeyes in first game of NIT

Home is where the heart is for LeBron James.

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.