CLEVELAND -- Shaquille O’Neal has a bet riding on Thursday’s Heat-Cavs game.
No, it isn’t on the outcome so no need to call the Commissioner. It is on whether former teammate LeBron James will perform his trademark pregame powder toss in front of what is expected to be a historically hostile crowd in his return to Quicken Loans Arena.
"I’m anxious to see him do the powder [expletive]," O’Neal told reporters before the Celtics’ 106-87 win over the Cavs Tuesday. "We have bets he won’t do it."
After the Heat’s practice in Miami Tuesday, James said he would likely stick to his routine of throwing up the power but left himself some wiggle room.
"He’s done it for every game he’s played so why change for just one game," Dwyane Wade said. “If he doesn’t throw it up, I’ll throw it up for him.”
O’Neal said he believes James’ return to Cleveland will be far more intense than two of his own high-profile returns to former home arenas.
"My situation in Orlando was a six, my situation in L.A. was a seven,” O’Neal said. “This is like a 12. ... He's a tough kid. He'll respond to it very well and have a good game."