Obama Says LeBron James's Return to Cleveland Tonight Will Be `Brutal'

President Barack Obama predicted that LeBron James is going to have a bumpy ride tonight playing before the Cleveland fans he spurned to join the Miami Heat.

“Oh, that’s going to be brutal, isn’t it?” Obama said in response to a question from reporters today on his way to a meeting with newly elected governors across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House.

James, the two-time reigning Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association, is from Akron, Ohio. He decided to leave his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, this summer to join the Heat, announcing his decision during a television special. Fans in Cleveland burned replicas of his jersey and Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert called his departure a “cowardly betrayal.”

James, 25, plays in Cleveland tonight for the first time as a visitor. The Cavaliers have increased security at Quicken Loans Arena and warned fans of inappropriate behavior.

Obama, 49, knows how brutal basketball can be: He got 12 stitches in his lip on Nov. 26 after being elbowed during a game with friends. He said the stitches were removed today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net

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