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Nike brings Cleveland 'Witness' banner down

Jul 10, 2010, 8:31 PM EDT

It’s got to feel a little bit like taking the ex’s stuff out of the
closet after she runs off with her dance instructor friend, the one you
never liked.

Today Nike officials started bringing down the
giant ‘Witness’ banner outside of Quicken Loans Arena, days after its
star, LeBron James, abandoned the city to pursue a championship in Miami alongside Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Amid an outpouring of rage and despair, with fans throwing rocks at the gigantic visage of the once and nevermore King, Nike sent crews out to take down the banner this morning. A report from News 5 in Cleveland says that it may take up to three days to take the banner down. If only the pain were going to take that long to remove.

That banner has been there for years, a testament to the empire fans thought was being built across the street. It was shown on every national telecast (of which there will be few in the foreseeable future) before James and the Cavs took the floor. It was representative of the immensity of superstardom James brought to the Cavs. Fans could look at it and believe they were part of something special, even as each year resulted in another playoff failure. That banner was about greatness in that city, in that player, for that team.

And it’s all gone. Or rather, will be, when the construction’s done.

And after the banner’s gone, and the Sherwin Williams building is just another building in Cleveland, people will still pass by that building and wince.

This is what sports does to people, to buildings, to cities. And it’s not always pretty.


  1. Craig W. - Jul 10, 2010 at 9:50 PM

    The Cavaliers are starting to move on and may actually have a somewhat representative team next year. With a team that has a coach who actually is in charge – not babysitting a star – they may develop faster than most thought possible. This is where Byron Scott may be the perfect coach to change the atmosphere and bring a semblance of discipline to this team – at least for the next 2-3 years, while they are getting used to bringing in pieces that work together to do the heavy lifting.

  2. John - Jul 10, 2010 at 11:50 PM

    Right… the star your pitiful city “babysat” is the only reason the Cleveland Cavaliers have ever been relevant in the sad history of your piss poor town. The return to below mediocrity begins.

  3. James Katt - Jul 11, 2010 at 1:10 AM

    Lebron is no longer the king. The king is dead.
    Lebron is such ano A Hoe.
    He deserves all the spit that is coming his way.

  4. Craig W. - Jul 11, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    Actually I have been a Lakers fan for 50 years. However, I do remember some good Cleveland clubs, back in the day.
    I don’t think it is a good idea to just put down a city — excepting Boston, of course — so just dissing some place for the sake of making yourself feel better isn’t such a great idea. The NBA is better when every city thinks it has a chance.

  5. terry - Jul 11, 2010 at 5:58 AM

    Cleveland – Just get over it – he was and is just a basketball player. I’m not saying this because I am a Heat fan, which I am not, I’m saying it because it’s true – he’s just a basketball player.

  6. Chuck - Jul 11, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    When you live in a Beaten down city with awful weather and all you have time to do is focus on a local Basketball Star…… it tells you something about the city of Cleveland…GET A LIFE! Sports in that city is the ONLY outlet for these folks (I lived there I know) and that outlet just burned them rightfully I might add. Sports stars come and go…and so do fans…..There still will be 5 players on the CAVS court come this fall and they still will sell Hot dogs and Beer and the Weather will still SUCK and another year will go by with NO CHAMPIONSHIP Rings for the Browns, Indians & CAVS!It is just entertainment guys. Cleveland, find something else to focus on like maybe creating jobs in your city or something…A Basketball superstar on your side does not make your city anymore attractive to outsiders….sorry it just doesn’t. Tigers do NOT change their stripes…..C YA Cleveland youre’ all a bunch of Heads!!

  7. Rob - Jul 11, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Did Nike say if they’re gonna move the banner to Miami, where it now belongs?

  8. Chris - Jul 11, 2010 at 10:40 AM

    Excepting Boston? Now why make such an ignorant hypocritical statement? All the more sweeter it will be when Boston gets back to the finals next year and WINS. Miaima will never win a championship with just 3 players anyway. Basketball is a team sport, that’s why you see TEAMS win. No team will ever win a championship without a good bench, sorry you need more than stars. Ask the Lakers and Celtics, who own together more than half of all NBA championships, they were all TEAMS. Excepting Boston? Greatest sports city in the world hands down, get a life!

  9. Edgar Vargas - Jul 11, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Lebron left Cleveland. So what. The next phenom is due to come up any day now. He is probably playing in some grammar school gym right now as we speak. What I am saying is get over it. Their is so much more in life. Cleveland will be here long after Lebron leaves. I am a Knick fan and I wanted Lebron, but he went to Miami, good for him. Look at it this way we got Amare without Nash. Get my point. Lots of love for Cleveland.

  10. jack13 - Jul 11, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    So, Cleveland, are you still witnesses?

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