Joe Thomas: LeBron James’ Hug, Retirement Tribute Made Him Tear Up at Cavs Game

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 19: Former Cleveland Browns player Joe Thomas hugs LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a timeout during the first against the Milwaukee Bucks half at Quicken Loans Arena on March 19, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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Former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas couldn’t help but get a little emotional after the Cleveland Cavaliers saluted him at halftime of their 124-117 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Thomas said hugging Cavaliers star LeBron James and the fan reaction nearly brought him to tears: 

“It was a really special moment to get love and respect from an icon like LeBron James—somebody that I’ve been a fan of since I was 12 years old. It was really special, and actually, once I walked off the court, I walked under the bleachers and I got a little emotional. I’m gonna be honest. I started tearing up a little bit.”

The Cavs shared a video from the brief ceremony:

Thomas announced his retirement March 14 after playing 11 years for the Browns. A 10-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro, Thomas is one of the greatest players to wear a Browns uniform, and he’s a lock for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.