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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. Kate - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    This guy is still news in Cleveland weeks later? Get over it!!!!
    And I though celebrity actresses were supposed to be divas. Geez.

  2. Jorge - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    WOW…I see that emotions are still fresh. Only time will change your perception of Lebron.
    I definitely feel that we are being too harsh on a “25 yr old”, who basically followed some bad advice on the decision. Don’t let the millions take away from the fact that he is still inmature. Yes he could have handled it better but the bottom line is he has been best friends with Wade for a long time and wanted to play with him. No offense to Cleveland but “if you could” you would move also.

  3. Mark - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    I doubt it… Professional PR people don’t end sentences in prepositions. Just sayin… :)

  4. RJV - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    WOULD YOU THANK FANS WHO BURNED YOUR JERSEY???
    WOULD YOU THANK FANS WHO BOOED YOU AT A PERSONAL WEDDING EVENT?
    WOULD YOU THANK FANS FOR BACKING AN OWNER WHO WENT ON A TEMPER TANTRUM?
    WOULD YOU THANK FANS FOR PERSONALLY THREATENING YOU?
    HE OWES CLEVELAND NOTHING BECAUSE HE GOT NOTHING IN RETURN, HE OWES NOTHING TO A CLASSLESS ORGANIZATION AND OWNER AND NOT TO MENTION FRIKIN WHINING, CRYING FANS! EVERY VENDOR, RESTAURANT AND THE OWNER RODE ON HIS BACK FOR SEVEN YEARS!
    GET OVER IT…….WHO CARES IF YOU HAVE NO CHAMPIONSHIPS….ENJOY THE FAME WHILE YOU HAVE IT AND THEN MOVE ON!
    MY GOODNESS……..

  5. filmdude - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:25 AM

    Lebron owes nothing to Cleveland… get over it.
    Would you feel obligated to stay at your workplace if you had a better opportunity to do what you want, at a new workplace that seems to be making good moves to get you? For the same money your old workplace is offering?
    Anyone that think Lebron owes something to all Clevelanders, should grow up. Seriously, this is not only a game of basketball, but also a business. If you put all your hopes into a basketball player, then that is sad.
    Get over it.

  6. RJV - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    DITTO!!!!!!!!!!!
    WELL SAID!!!!!

  7. Great Lakes Refugee - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    I grew up in Cleveland and left. Why? The city sucks. Crappy, weather, crappy economy, ugly downtown, crappy sports teams, small town mentality etc…etc…etc… LeBron is not the first nor will he be the last to leave the Mistake by the Lake! Hey Cleveland take a look within to figure out why everyone leaves!

  8. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    HEY REFUGEE YOU ARE RIGHT . BUT LEBRON WAS OFFERED 30 MILLION DOLLARS TO STAY . OK LET ME SEE IF I HAVE TO PICK 30 MILLION OR MAYBE A RING . GEE THE WEATHER AND LOUSY CITY SURE LOOKS GOOD I GUESS IT WASNT THAT BAD FOR LEBRON WHILE HE WAS HE WAS LIVING HERE . LETS CUT THE CRAP HE FAKED A INJURY SO HE COULD PLAY WITH HIS HOOD BUDDIES!!!

  9. Sick of it all - Aug 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    I’m so tired of hearing about this, its over and done. It just would have been nice if he’d handled things with more class. But I say good riddance, maybe we can have a team focus now and not be expected to call someone our “King”.

  10. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    hey rjv screw you!!! lebron facked a injury so he wouldnt have to resign with cle then holds this espn farce . then strings along other teams knowing full well he is leaving ..not even a fax pnone call or nothing to the owner who paid him over 30 million dollars it goes on and on . do you think kobe or michael jordon would have does this ????????????

  11. Tired of it all - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    So many of you are asking Cleveland to “get over it”. Did you even notice that the column was written by someone in L.A., not Cleveland. World get over it.

  12. Fleur - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:35 PM

    And what age are you…2. The reason the man thanked the town of Akron was due to his fundraising event. This is what you do when people are kind enough to attend (or allow) your event to take place. Now, why was Cleveland even brought into this mix… It seem some people and some of the media love to stir up trouble by making the people of Cleveland think he was snobbing them with this letter of thanks. Maybe one day he would thank the people of Cleveland, however now is not a good time, for no matter what he does or say, some people are just waiting to put a negative spin on it. Now, grow up and leave thinks alone and let people come around – there is enough negativity in the world.

  13. kyle b - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    The USA would be alot better if it just blew up Ohio, that state is like a 3rd nut.

  14. Steven Flores - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    I think lebron better make a move to win a championship soon or he is gonna look pretty dumb.

  15. Ed - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    The only real news is James became Queen James as he is not the King anymore. He now has the chalk in his face.
    Will now always been the Queen as Wade became King even though they all live together in Riley’s old house and maybe Riley never left.

  16. John - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Who cares? The dudes an overated and ugly to boot.

  17. Jimee Johnson - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    You, punk, are an idiot. Ohio is a great state with fine people and great places. Although I am from California, I see the beauty in everything, unlike a dick weed like you, kyle b. Does the b stand for bitch?

  18. Karma - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Don’t worry Cleveland look what happened to BP when they pulled the plug from Cleveland thats right for those who do not know or remember BP used to be headquatered in Cleveland. So watch out Miami because I think after the next season is over the only thing on South beach will be oil and maybe a stuck bannana boat.”come on everybody let me hear that conga no you can’t wait for it any longa.” Lecocharoach James

  19. C Nathan T - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    I think it’s time the City of Cleveland moves on, Or is it. Instead of venting your ‘venon’ on a guy who gave you his all for seven solid years, unleash your venon on an inept owner who thinks he owes Lebron. This is the US of A. Like the commercial says, “you’re free to move to another country” Lebron is an American who’s execising his constituitional rights, Free choice.
    No wonder Joachim said nobody wants to visit Cleveland. 2 miserable NFL teams who’re still struggling to define their identities. Yes just “GET OVER IT”, Cleveland.

  20. Jim "Bob" - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    LeBron will always be remembered as a “QUITTER” and a disgrace in the way he made a circus out of his leaving. The NBA is nothing but a League of Thugs and LeBron heads that list!!!

  21. wondering - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    How did the fans quit on the team? By selling out the Q every game, or by purchasing Cavaliers gear?

  22. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:14 PM

    hey jim bob could have not said it better!!!!!!!!!!!!! lebron is a punk from the hood and doesnt doserve all this attention ,,,,,,karma lebron karma lebron

  23. willyjsimmons - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    I love how the NBA is now a “league of thugs”…aka Black Men.
    LOL
    Considering cleveland fans have done everything including questioning LeBron’s care of his kids…
    WHY would he say anything to the residents of cleveland?

  24. You - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    You pull this out of your ass? The fans were there for this Cavs team, for the Indians of the 90’s, The Browns in the 80’s every time the city gets a little hope that we might just win a championship the fans have been there in droves. More so than a lot of other cities, like Miami for instance. They have a bunch of transplants from all over the country and Cuba, no roots for supporting the Heat. If a championship is won again there the celebration won’t be huge.
    We are more of a football town than any other sport and the support has always been there for the Browns, win or lose.
    All you idiots that have your opinions of Cleveland really need to shut your traps unless you have actually been here. Comments by other pro athletes are what you base your opinions on?
    I have been here all of my 45 years and the only thing that has me thinking about leaving is I don’t like the winters anymore. Nothing else. This is a blue collar town and we have plenty to do here, contrary to popular belief. It’s just like any place else, if you don’t know someone to take you around you aren’t going to learn about our city.
    Keep your half assed opinions to yourselves and comment on the situation, not the city. Most basketball people are angry only by the way he handled himself because all fingers pointed to him leaving especially after he quit in the playoffs. If you don’t believe he quit then why is it the “elbow injury” was never mentioned again after the season ended? Then I love the comments about Dan Gilbert, you guys act like you were there for the meeting.
    Leaving Cleveland was not the issue, handling himself like the spoiled kid that he is, that’s the real issue. You can only kiss someones ass for so long before you snap and Gilbert proved that in a big way. He made some stupid statements but he also clued people in to the prima-donna status of the self appointed King. To bad he was fined the hundred grand because I think we would have learned a lot more. Now I only wish Mike Brown and Danny Ferry would come out and say something.
    I don’t put my heart and soul into these teams anymore because it is a business first and nothing more. Championships aren’t won for the prestige they are won for the money. We have an abundance of college sports to watch, I can travel an hour down I-90 and hit Cedar Point in the summer, there are plenty of places to ski in the winter. The diverse selection of food allows you to eat something different three meals a day for a year without having the same thing twice. Cleveland museums and orchestra, science center and Rock Hall. This is not to mention Lake Erie and the beaches, boating, fishing………
    Now that I am off topic I will call it quits

  25. NBA hater - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    Oh yeah, this whole story reeks. Sorry I wasted my time.
    But since I did, here’s a thought for ALL you Ohio and NBA whiners…TRY HAVING A WHOLE TEAM TAKEN AWAY, A$$HOLE STERN WOULDN’T EVEN CONSIDER HELPING SEATTLE TRY TO KEEP THE SONICS.
    All the NBA and ANYBODY supporting it can go F$$$ yourselves.
    And that goes double for A$$hole STERN.

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