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

Aug 3, 2010, 8:29 AM EDT

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. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    I bet his PR agent wrote all of that…

  2. Jim - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    I know Lebron is fiercly loyal to all things Akron and throughout his career has gone to great pains to separate it from Cleveland. That being said, he played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, not the Akron Cavaliers. I am wondering if another letter is coming in the Plain Dealer. It has to, right? His team can’t be that ridiculously inept can they?

  3. Eddie - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    For LeBron it has been and always will be about putting Akron on the map. Akron is his home not Cleveland.
    Which college did he allow to wear his shoes? Ohio State (where he said he would have went had he been required to go to college) and Akron. Not Cleveland or Cleveland state or Cleveland community college.
    And let’s not lie, the vast majority of Cleveland would have hated LeBron for leaving Cleveland even if there was no hour special. I can’t really blame them since the Browns and Indians seem to be in permanent rebuilding mode.

  4. Lou - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Where in this ad does he insult Cleveland? You reporters should write the truth, not from your heart. It appears to me that this was to thank Akron. And it accomplishes that very thing.

  5. queen 56 - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    I am glad that Lebron James thanks his home town but wondering if it is because it is a week before he is coming here or is it really sincerely from his heart? The reason why I ask this is because this could have been done before now; why not when he made his “decision” to leave? That would have been the perfect opportunity to thank those who have helped him to get to where he is today.
    He has to be careful because as fast as you get to the top, the fall can be faster. Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants him to succeed wherever he decides to go but do not burn your bridges and not to deceive people and to be a people pleaser just going with the flow but really being the leader and man that he has been called to be. Anything less than this he will the rest of his life being unfulfilled not knowing if he could really have done what he was meant to do. I leave these words to Lebron James that was spoken to me at a very vulnerable place in my life: “To Thine Own Self Be True.”

  6. cygnus-x1 - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    still waiting for someone to to tell me if winning is so important to him then why did he have to have a max deal in his last contract with cleveland? where was that talk of sacrifice then so the cavs could go and sign that sidekick superstar he wanted?again he had every right to leave but just come out and say hey I didn’t want to play in cleveland anymore and wanted to play with my friends on a team where I would not have to carry the load?sick of all the cavs did not do enough for him excuses.the lousy team they put on the floor for him won 60 games the last 2 years right?they went to the finals right?

  7. in FLORIDA - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:49 AM

    I agree w/ Lou. Nothing damaging to, of condemning of, Cleveland and it was published in a paper whose circulation is primarily in AKRON. Should he do something similar in Cleveland? I’d say no. After the idiotic way they reacted (burning his jersey, etc.), he owes them nothing. He fulfilled his contract. And Dan Gilbert’s brilliant pitch to retain him? Show him a cartoon. What do the fans expect from an idiot owner like that? BTW, I live in Florida, but am a Magic fan, not a Heat fan, so no bias here.

  8. Timing is Everything - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:54 AM

    Funny how this came out a couple days after Z took out an ad thanking Cleveland and hoping that Cavs fans understand his decision (which we do). As was said in that article that ESPN pulled down last week, Lebron is just a 15 year old in a 240lb body.

  9. ed - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    Lebron has a very short memory, all of the fans that came to the Cavs games were not soley from Akron they were from all over Ohio, I have nothing against Akron or Lebron, I just would have liked for Lebron to stand up and be a man. He could have let the fans know in a much better way that he was leaving.

  10. Nick - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    Take aim at LeBron when he comes to Cleveland.

  11. TOMAS - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    The state of Ohio owes lebron for bringing in athletes to OSU, propping up their miserable economy and for most of all making cleveland a relevant sports city for 6yrs. maybe he left and some people have a problem with that, this is sports and if the Cavs woulda even tried to get a decent coach or trade some of the c-level talent they woulda beena contender and maybe beat the Lakers.

  12. mitchell - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    i think if Cleveland didnt react like they did that James would’ve thanked them, BUT they didnt. they acted like it was the Ravens all over again and it wasnt. he didnt leave Cleveland because of their fans, it was winning a ring which he seems desperate to do.

  13. Dtefnut - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    Lebron = A Very Sad Story.

  14. mr.jones - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    It was reported that Lebron has set a goal to be a billionaire and that the Knicks had people put forecasts together which showed he only had that potential if he went to New York. I wonder if the folks that put those projections together factored in that Lebron has got to be one of the dumbest players in the league. His marketing and PR skills are obviously non-existent.

  15. Everyone - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Cleveland didn’t deserve LeBron. Yeah, LeBron quit during the playoffs, but the fans quit on the team well before he did. They’re a lot better at whining than they are at cheering.

  16. MMW - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    guys your beeing a**es lebron was just doing what his heart told him and it said miami you cant take him for granite like air well it’s always gonna be there no it’s not so lebron does not always have to be there just find a new all-star

  17. To the king of shame - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    What you did to the city of Cleveland and the way you did it showes no class.Now you try to improve your image in Ohio with an ad thanking Akron for there support.Get real! You bring down the image of the NBA.

  18. Ivoine - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    Americans seem to be the most hypocritical people in the world. They protect the First Amendment and speak ill of people who exercise it. LeBron is a businessman, he was hired by Cleveland to play for the Cavaliers for specific period and for a specific amount of money. The Cavaliers fulfilled their part of the bargain by paying him and he fulfilled his part of the bargain by playing for the full extent of the contract. He made tons of money for Cleveland and they should thank him. Mr. Gilbert’s behavior like a jilted lover was sickening and should send a clear message to any player who is playing or will play for Cleveland Cavaliers. Mr. James therefore could choose to say farewell to Cleveland or not. But he owes them ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, Period!!!! I think the mentally deranged people of Cleveland need to get over it, LeBron James has “taken his talents to South Beach” He is not the only player in the world, Minnesota still survived when Kevin Garnet left. Other marquee players changed teams, and the NBA continued. But all this did was fuel the new found energy that Miami Heat will have to make history by burying Cleveland and others when they meet. STAY TUNED

  19. Everyone - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    And Cleveland’s whining is bringing down the image of Cleveland…
    …if its possible to go lower, that is.

  20. jak-meof - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    ???????? Seriously, proof read your message dude…..

  21. montanaman - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Cleveland made a lot more money off of James than he did off of them.

  22. edStevens - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    akron is poor

  23. Brochocinco - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    He thanks Akron, and it will always be his home. But why does he thank anyone? It’s implied that it’s because he left for Miami, but he never comes out and says it. He never says, “Akron is my home, but I had to leave for Miami.” It’s like he’s only thanking the, because people say he should, but he doesn’t understand why he should.
    To all you haters, and I stand by this, unless you’re from Cleveland, you just don’t understand. And you never will. Nor do I expect you to. But you just don’t understand.

  24. Kmar - Aug 3, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    If King ME ME ME loves his hometown so much, why did “Z” have to shame him into just now thanking Akron, etc. Nobody likes a copycat but look who it is. How telling.

  25. Brochocino - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    And as a star athlete, you would rather play for a bunch of bandwagoners who don’t give a damn about you? People who will abandon you if you don’t win?

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