MIAMI — LeBron James doesn’t have any apprehension for this homecoming.

There’s nothing to fear, no real worries about his safety, unlike what awaited him the last time he had one of these return games. Then again, this might not even classify as a homecoming because, it turns out, Miami was never truly his home, just a place he called home for four years while with the Heat.

He came. He won. He left.

On Thursday, James returns to face the Heat, the team that turned him from a superstar to a two-time NBA champion superstar. And as he and the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare for what will certainly be an emotional Christmas visit, James said he’s expecting to be flooded with positive vibes.

“To say I haven’t thought about going back, I would be lying,” James said Tuesday night in Cleveland after he and the Cavaliers beat Minnesota. “It’s going to be great to be back in that building around those unbelievable fans and the memories will definitely come back, being a part of the organization for four years.”

For their part, the Heat insist they’re looking forward to the reunion.

Some in the organization were angry when James left, in large part because of how long it took him to tell Miami he wouldn’t be returning. But the building has hardly been scrubbed of reminders: Coach Erik Spoelstra still has photos of James in his office, and huge prints of some of his most memorable moments still adorn the walls of “Championship Alley,” the hallway leading from the Miami locker room.

James remains in contact with some Heat players, and his close friendship with Dwyane Wade continues.

“It hasn’t changed,” Wade said. “It won’t change. … We have a great friendship and great respect for each other. It won’t change.”

The homecoming drama was so different four years ago.

When James returned to Cleveland on Dec. 2, 2010, for the first time after signing with Miami, the city that adopted the Akron, Ohio, native as one of its own turned on him. He was booed incessantly by fans who felt he betrayed them despite seven great seasons.

The Heat won that night and knew they never would face an atmosphere that daunting again.

“It was just us,” James said.

James has spent the past few days downplaying his return to south Florida, but has found himself reminiscing about what he accomplished alongside Wade, Udonis Haslem, Chris Bosh, Mario Chalmers and those former Heat teammates who remain in Miami.

They became a family and for James, family is everything.

“I’m one person who understands being home, being able to stay home and making sacrifices to be home,” said Haslem, a Miami native who has spent his entire NBA career there despite the chance to make more elsewhere. “I’ve done it my whole career and I can’t fault him for that. We had a great four years together, we had a lot of success together and we’ll continue to be friends.”

Like James, Haslem is downplaying the Heat vs. James story line. After all, they’ve already played once – at Brazil in the preseason.

“It ain’t about Bron,” Haslem said. “It ain’t about beating Cleveland because he left to go to Cleveland. It’s about the Miami Heat against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and we’d want to win that game whether it was last year’s Cleveland Cavaliers who won 25 games or whatever, or this year’s Cleveland Cavaliers who everyone thinks are going to win it all.”

It’s anyone’s guess what crowd reaction awaits.

Some will boo. Some will cheer. Some will probably do both.

The Heat will honor James with a video tribute planned for one of the early timeouts, as they do with many returning players, and will have another for former Miami guard James Jones.

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