Local Heat fans weigh in on LeBron James' departure - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Local Heat fans weigh in on LeBron James' departure

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LeBron James' Sports Illustrated cover announcing his departure from the Miami Heat. LeBron James' Sports Illustrated cover announcing his departure from the Miami Heat.
Alonzo Mourning posing with a fan at Florida Blue's Health Fair. Alonzo Mourning posing with a fan at Florida Blue's Health Fair.

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- LeBron James' decision to leave the Miami Heat in order to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers remained the talk of the town throughout Miami on Saturday, and even though local fans said the loss stings, they are taking his departure in stride.

Fans discussed the ways they have been coping as Heat Nation landed at Florida Blue's Health Fair, a day after James told fans he would hang up his white hot jersey for that other team in Ohio. "Let's go, Heat!" exclaimed pint-sized fan Samantha with a certainty that suggested she is not going to let LeBron's exit dampen her spirits.

Heat fan Guido Diaz said he is trying to view the whole affair from LBJ's perspective. "[I'm] disappointed, but then you realize he's going home, and that's what he really wanted, so more power to him," he said.

James may have helped cinch two back-to-back NBA championships for the Heat, but for Lissette Diaz, the victories offer scant consolation. "I get angry automatically," she said.

Fans at Saturday's health screening event may have been outspoken, but former Heat star Alonzo Mourning declined to comment on the media-dominating affair while signing autographs for avid attendees. Event officials informed 7News no questions were allowed.

Heat fan Eduardo Rivera faced no such restrictions, and he waxed nostalgic about LeBron's Miami run. "Obviously, I was sad about it," he said. "Not disappointed because we had four good years with him."

Others, however, said they were taken aback by how things turned out. "I didn't want him to leave, and I don't think anyone wanted him to leave," said Samantha.

The consensus among Heat fans at Saturday's event is that they do not resent James for wanting to return to his roots, something New York native Dawn Triblis can empathize with all too well. "You know what? Totally, because I am from Brooklyn, New York, and yes, l definitely can understand," she said. "I miss certain parts. That's my heritage."

"He said in the newspaper that going to his family was more important in Cleveland than basketball," said Samantha.

"Who's going to question someone who wants to go home and bring a championship to their own home?" asked a male fan at the event.

Fans agreed that it is now time for Miami to rally together and show their devotion, to keep that "White Hot" energy alive even if the best player in basketball is bidding farewell. "We're still supporters, and they're our team, so we've got to support them," said Diaz. "They just got to step it up."

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