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LeBron James takes out ad to thank Akron. Cleveland who?

Aug 3, 2010, 8:29 AM EST

Thumbnail image for lebron_decision.jpgLeBron James on the court does so many things right.

LeBron James off the court this summer has done so many public relations things wrong.

Two days after Zydrunas Ilgauskas wrote a heart-felt personal letter to thank the city of Cleveland, LeBron James has taken out a full-page ad for a letter thanking the city of Akron for supporting him — and not once mentioning Cleveland. This after “The Decision” ripped the hearts out of Clevelanders on national television (and seemed to galvanize fans of other teams against the Heat).

Thing is, many of the people in Akron do not consider Cleveland their home. Two different places with a little rivalry going on. Throw in the reaction in Cleveland to the decision and LeBron may not feel he owes that city anything.

He is wrong. He needed to make some gesture to Cleveland, although now that ship has sailed.

The letter in the Akron Beacon-Journal comes the week of LeBron’s annual bike-a-thon for charity through downtown Akron.

Here is the text of the ad:

To My Family, Friends and Fans in Akron:

“For all my life, I have lived in Akron — and for that, I am truly a lucky man.

“It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.

“Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It’s where I started, and it’s where I will always come back to. You can be sure that I will continue to do everything I can for this city, which is so important to my family and me. Thank you for your love and support. You mean everything to me.”

  1. Clevelander - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    Derrick,
    Stop with the revisionist history already. The Cavs team got booed after Game 5 against the Celtics. I was there by the way. In that same series, the Celtic fans booed their team at the end of Game 3. Other than those two instances, there was no booing of home teams. As far as “being accused of being a loser, of slacking off, of not giving a damn and not to mention being Queen James” I would invite you to compare the national media’s coverage of game 5 with that of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer was considerably more charitable than the national media. Stop ascribing all the criticism that LBJ has gotten to Cleveland fans, its dishonest. The criticism that has come out of Cleveland only came after he announced he was taking his talents to South Beach.

  2. Lou - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Way to intelligently express yourself Rocky. wow. You must be from Cleveland?

  3. JP from DC - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Which one doesn’t belong and why? Moses Malone, Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Jerry Sichting.
    LeBron doesn’t belong. The others have won a championship.
    Practice saying, “That LeBron, he’s no Jerry Sichting.”

  4. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Well said. He full filled his contract to the the very last day and to the very last day the owners continued to show the same posture which was one that did not move them past the threshold of the current state. They did not have the quality of player(s)to not only get to the championship but win it, which should be the goal of any competing athlete.
    The one question I have is what about his supporting cast in the theme of things? Is management saying they got what the expected and can accept the performances from the remaining players on that team? If that is the case then they are a poor judge of talent as from what I saw NO ONE else stepped up the level play to HELP or contribute WHEN IT COUNTED.

  5. SSac - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Wow, just grow upBoo Hoo, LeBron doesn’t like us anymore and so we hate him too.
    When LeBron went play for Cleveland he said he would win a championship for them. He effectively has probably put at least a couple hundred bucks in the pockets of every Clevlander by revitalizing the city’s interest in Sports. I believe he was sincere in his goal, but the Cavalier organization did not have the support staff to achieve the goal. Championships are not the product of one guy. So, James makes a carreer decision that he had to make. If he did not move now, he may wind up as a star player on a second rate team in a second rate market.
    Is he arrogant? of course, almost all pro atheletes that are paid millions each year to throw a ball through a hoop, at a glove or down a field are arrogant. You have to remember you are watching a bunch of millionaires running around playing a game.
    So I say good for LeBron for making a decision that may lead him to achieve his goals, and really, screw Cleveland the Cavs owner and the fans. Maybe they should try being grateful for the the things James did for them.

  6. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Another native that left for the very same reason. They call it the the mistake by the lake for reason. Look at the history of the city..it speaks for itself.
    The Modell’s left (last winning franchise) after many years of frustration and finally came to realize that he was not going to achieve the success or get the support if he stayed. The city had every opportunity and as they always do..did nothing.
    Growing up Cleveland was the 10th largest city in the US, Columbus is now bigger than Cleveland..so what does that tell you from the people from within its’ own state?

  7. MJCK - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    anyone who thinks that Lebron gave it his all for the last 7 years in Cleveland doesn’t know much. He was a taker….each and every time. He basically tied the team in handcuffs–who he would accept as teammates, who got to ride on the plane, paying off and hiring all of his high school buddies. Whoever is advising Lebron now is a fool and Lebron is even more of a fool. He is going to make a lot less in endorsements than he ever would have because he is such a polarizing figure….and worst of all, he’s a quitter. I’m a Celtics fan, and believe me, he quit in the playoffs. He is at times, a great player, but he is a jerk. And we aren’t much more about his little trip to Las Vegas and the TAO anymore. Funny how that story got pulled. Too much money, not enough brains and common sense….and he doesn’t even know enough to know that he needs help. I feel sorry for him….nah, I don’t.

  8. Jim E. - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    I wish someone who has the tools and ability to do so, could put together footage of Queen James during the Boston series. I watched it and he definitely threw the series. Cleveland had the best team in the NBA. What he did is comparable to what that one NBA referee did a season or so ago. I don’t know why this isn’t brought up more often. I know it and anyone who saw the series knows it. Sports analysts know it. These players dictated series of events for a very long time to allow them to be on one team. Now that they are on the same team, they are taking less money to bring in as many good support players as they can. Again, they are manipulating the system. All three should be held accountable for this. Talk about manipulation!!! Talk about buying a championship!!! And then, the Cleveland haters talk about how the Cavs organization didn’t bring in players to help Queen James out. I bet if he had taken a pay cut “then”, they would have had some marquee type players. Even with that said, they had enough talent to win 60 plus games. It would easily have been more than 70 wins if it weren’t for all the injuries. That team had their fair share of them. What would have happened if Kobe packs it in during any one of the Lakers playoff series – you get the same results. Any star on any team tanking would be disastrous. The NBA and ESPN are becoming a reality TV show. My wife (who hates sports) watched the “Decision” (loves reality TV shows) and said WOW. He really stuck it to those people! I only hope some journalists trying to make a name for themselves can scrap enough evidence together to bust these criminals. Wasn’t a Cleveland fan particularly – until now!

  9. Jim E. - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I wish someone who has the tools and ability to do so, could put together footage of Queen James during the Boston series. I watched it and he definitely threw the series. Cleveland had the best team in the NBA. What he did is comparable to what that one NBA referee did a season or so ago. I don’t know why this isn’t brought up more often. I know it and anyone who saw the series knows it. Sports analysts know it. These players dictated series of events for a very long time to allow them to be on one team. Now that they are on the same team, they are taking less money to bring in as many good support players as they can. Again, they are manipulating the system. All three should be held accountable for this. Talk about manipulation!!! Talk about buying a championship!!! And then, the Cleveland haters talk about how the Cavs organization didn’t bring in players to help Queen James out. I bet if he had taken a pay cut “then”, they would have had some marquee type players. Even with that said, they had enough talent to win 60 plus games. It would easily have been more than 70 wins if it weren’t for all the injuries. That team had their fair share of them. What would have happened if Kobe packs it in during any one of the Lakers playoff series – you get the same results. Any star on any team tanking would be disastrous. The NBA and ESPN are becoming a reality TV show. My wife (who hates sports) watched the “Decision” (loves reality TV shows) and said WOW. He really stuck it to those people! I only hope some journalists trying to make a name for themselves can scrap enough evidence together to bust these criminals. Wasn’t a Cleveland fan particularly – until now! Actually, I’ll be rooting for Chicago, Orlando, and Boston on as well.

  10. SSac - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    I don’t think he quit, I think he gave up though. You could see that in that game he was trying to get his teammates to step up and help, and they just didn’t, or couldn’t. I think he knew then that this was it, they would not make it with just one guy. I think he knew then that he was gone.
    As far as his behavior, all of the high end players are nothing more than spoiled brats. Some of the older ones have gotten a little smarter about what they do. My son grew up with a guy that now plays for Phoenix. He sees him sometimes in the off season and will attend fund raisers in the area. He says its like hanging out with a bunch of spoiuled rich kids. LeBron is the opitomy of this type of attitude. He’s been treated as a God since high school. He doesn’t know any other way. He confuses arrogance with confidence. We all forget that he’s only 25. Hey, I was somewhat of an arrogant a-hole at 25, wern’t we all to some extent?

  11. Max - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    You people from other markets who are condemning Cleveland are clueless. Cleveland fans are some of the best in the country. I grew up in the NY area and was surprised when I moved here to see how devoted the fans are to their teams. These are hardworking (when jobs are available) and proud people. Certainly not deserving of the kind of treatment they received from the self-appointed ‘King’.
    Put it in perspective, how would LA feel if Kobe threw the last series and nixed any chances of getting good players while stringing you along for 3 years before going on national TV to embarrass you? Take my word for it, it doesn’t feel good.
    The fans here supported him in every way and tolerated (and fed)his ego believing that he truly cared about succeeding here. At the end of the day we had to look in the mirror and realized we’d been played for fools. Now Lebron has to look in the mirror and decide if his character is anywhere equal to his ‘talents’.
    As far as we’re concerned, please take your ‘talents’ and everything else to South Beach or any of the cities represented by those commenting here on how Clevelanders are’whiners’.

  12. Max - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    @tj
    You’re a moron who has probably never even been to Ohio, let alone Cleveland. Your foul language on a public forum indicates your character or lack thereof.

  13. Michelle - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Lebron is a joke Akron did not do anything thing for his career Cleveland did duhhhhhhhhh Cleveland Cavs you idiot I dont recall Akrons NBA u did Cleveland A favor Lebron We hate fake people Keep It Moving Lebron Your History and not in a good way

  14. josh williamson - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    This is to all of the dumb akron former fans of lebron james. How about all you idiots grow the he** up an get over it. I live in ohio an im not crying over this. I agree with wat lebron has done. Cleveland has failed lebron they cant even get a championship with the numbers james has put up then their the failures. Quit crying over what he did. all you people are acting like little ass kids that dont get their candy. grow up and act like adults. All the comment the dumb oowner made dan gilbert needs to grow up to, hes a full grown man, who is whinning about this. HEs a basketball player that wants to win championships. What NBA player wants to play his heart out to come up short because of no ring.NO ONE. so quit making it a big deal babies.

  15. Michelle - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    The matter at hand is not what Lebron did its how he did it . It was very inmature of him to lead Cleveland on to the very last minute and then announce it on TV the only one that needs to grow up is Lebron . He should of Thanked Cleveland For 7 years and said it was time for him to move on we understand realism not cowardly games .

  16. Collin - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:46 PM

    i still can’t believe Lebron left and i thought that he was going to prove all the rumors wrong by staying in cleveland but he went to miami, when i was watching “the decision” and when he announced that i sat there and stared at the tv for 5 minutes straight maybe more just in shock, dissapointment and the feeling of BETRAYAL and disloyalty, even if akron is not apart of cleveland most people in akron will still love the cavs and that probably hurt them more then other people by him leaving, from now on my two favorite teams are the CAVS and whoever beats LeDEUSCHE.

  17. Russell - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:53 AM

    Get over it. This sport is professional. The man had done everything asked of him while he was in a Cav’s jumper. To the fans that are taking it personal..two words…GROW UP!! I love MJ23 and agree with his comments about wanting to beat the best but has anybody noticed that Kobe is the best? Not D-Wade, not Bosh? Not doubting MJ23’s status as the greatest but did anybody pay attention to who suited up with him? Scottie Pippen…the 2nd BEST player on the planet during MJ’s era…Dennis Rodman the best rebounder of his era too!!! KG asked for a support cast for years in Minnesota, nobody grilled his cheese when he left for Boston to team up with Pierce and Allen?!? All you disgruntled Cav’s fans are just being cry babies. “LeDEUSCHE”, “BETRAYAL” how about “CAV-DEUCHE”, “CAVTRAYAL” You guys should be ashamed of yourselves for having the most talented and bankable player in the league in your team….and not capitalizing on it!!! Hope you guys enjoyed your deep run in the playoffs…its something your grand kids will know about via bedtime stories.

  18. onedayatatime - Aug 4, 2010 at 3:50 AM

    Child care payments? really? So that added up to the Millions that this man brought to Cleveland ? ……..Really? You can’t be serious? …
    Look my fellow Americans…This could turn into a train that has no brakes with all of the comments and statements (even from Mr Gilbert) and could hurt someone if all of this negative vibe don’t subside or stop.. Lebron made a decision to play where he wanted to go. Freedom of choice when your a free agent. Your right when teams trade player there is no letter or hard feeling, player outburst. Maybe this is a lesson for player and teams see if there is a better way to part ways. I had no problem with Mr James “Decision” He gave the money to charity and it will help other people. Maybe he should have talked to Mr gilbert and the Cav. But he didn’t have too… The best way to get over something like Cleveland said they are experiencing is by moving on in a positive way just like a break up Show them your better off or learn something from it.I have to say that Mr Stern was upset with the program “Decision” and yet he wanted to release the partial TV schedule for Miami…Early..Hmmmm I think we are all trying to take advantage of this situation…
    By the way I am a NETS FAN…..OUCH..

  19. Jonathan - Aug 4, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    Lebron gave Cleveland 10 times more than they ever gave him. He would have been the same star wherever he went – heck, he probably would be an even bigger star with championships if he hadn’t had to start his career on the worst team in the entire league. Cleveland was lucky to have him for seven years, and they respond by trashing everything about him for the last two months. I can understand why he might not feel particularly friendly towards them. Why give them a token of appreciation after he’s gotten nothing but bitter vile from them for two straight months?

  20. A clevelander - Aug 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    I think that was wrong of him to do that to cleveland I lived there halfly all my life. maybe he might wanna leave but why flordia they have dwane they dont need him there to thats not really fair to cleveland. he is a embassment to cleveland.

  21. ABDULAH SANIBABA - Sep 7, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    hi mr. james,
    from king james version love them and love them you will be loved forever.Cleveland CAVS will be part of you forever.
    however, is not too late to say thank you.

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