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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. kyle b - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Well we both are from Cali and so who care bout Ohio! and the B stands for Beating, cus thats what u gonna get if i ever run into you

  2. Robin - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    Im not a Heat or Lebron fan, in fact I initially hoped my team had a shot to land him. HOWEVER, I am SICK TO DEATH about hearing how he ‘ripped the hearts out of Cleveland’. Enough with the whining and the violins already, he’s just a stupid basketball player. SKREW Cleveland, the owner certainly got his pound of flesh, so we are no longer obligated to keep up this charade of feeling sorry for Cleveland.
    They had a great player for the last few years, now he’s moved on. Big deal. He has free will like the rest of us. They can continue to put up as many billboards, discount all his merchandise and all the other petty things they have been doing. Stop bombarding us with stories painting Cleveland as some unwitting victim. I dont care.

  3. Be real for just a moment - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Seriously, stop with the drama and dreaming for a bit.
    Realize that LeBron owes Cleveland nothing. Playing in the NBA is a job, one in which the employees we so love to watch do so at risk to health.
    The city only loves a team when it’s winning. You show no support for your “team” in rebuilding years or when it’s otherwise needed.
    Owners trade players all the time when they (owners) are trying to get a championship and yet no one makes such a big deal about it. Players leave teams all the time and “cities” never make such a big deal.
    The drama Cleveland is showing now is because they KNOW that LeBron was their meal ticket in the NBA. Where are these “cities” that players should show loyalty to when that player suffers a career ending injury? People turn on players just as quickly for less than players do.

  4. well actually... - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    technically, the city of cleveland paid for lebron to live. His mother received childcare payments from the city. So it could be said that he actually does owe the city something. And cleveland would have been much more gracious toward him had he not quit in the last 2 playoff games and hadn’t made his leaving into a televised 1 hour show and just signed the contract like everybody else. “The Decision”? Really? Classless.

  5. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    The Cavs didnt need a sidekick for him. They had the sidekick all along. Their mistake was thinking that he was the leader who needed the sidekick.

  6. Mike - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Who wouldn’t trade Cleavland for South Beach. Lebron has a better team that is committed to winning, not just sucking in the cash on his back. He took LESS money to leave his hometown. What does that say about the management of the Cleavland? How will the childish rant from the owner help him draw free agents? Lebron put that team back on the NBA map and instead of going all out to win they just sat back and raked in the cash. Let’s see how good that team is without him. If they did all they could to support him in winning a championship then that team should be competitive even now. Hate all you want but time will tell if this move was good or bad.

  7. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:56 PM


  8. Dave - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    My message to all cleveland fans. When Lebron played in Cleveland every game was sold out. Since you question his commitment, let you show your commitment by continuing to have sold out games for 7 years. Let’s see where your hearts are!!!

  9. Enough already - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:06 PM

    What is Cleveland, some kind of albatross around the guys neck? Slavery is over. I don’t see why anybody has to be beholden to bleepin Cleveland.
    I am so sick of just hearing that name, from its whiny owner with misplaced feelings of entitilement to so many of the fans, you didn’t OWN this man. He isn’t anybody’s property. And this is from somebody who doesn’t even like Lebron all that much, lol.

  10. Yosef - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    You’re describing 90% of all fans there guy.

  11. RJV - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM


  12. Everyone is One - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Lebron did everything he could for Cleveland, with by the way should change its name to Bitchland. Get over it and go back into that Crap hole city you live in and shut the hell up.

  13. Steve - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Z showed class in his Thank you to the the fans ad.
    If LBJ had done this on Friday July 9th, he wouldn’t have as bad of a PR nightmare.
    The “Johnny come lately” ad that doesn’t include a thanks to the Cavs (and basketball) fans is lacking.
    Enough of him already, there are more important things in life.

  14. Really? - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    You’re going to talk about teams leaving to Clevelanders? We sold out everygame in Cleveland Municiple, and because Art Moddell was too greedy to join the Gateway Project, he left Cleveland without giving the city a chance to save the team. Look it up. He announced the move to Baltimore a day before a citywide vote to give him money to refurbish the stadium. So shut up with this Seattle nonsense.
    Personally, I am tired of this nosense too. I would be over it if I didn’t have to see LBJ everyday in the news. Media just keeps forcing it on us. Because, clearly, we all still care a little to read about.

  15. kyle b - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    MJ was back in the 80’s and the 90’s its different now. if he (lebron) wouldve teamed up with Kobe then thats understandable arguement but he teamed up with a friend in Wade. MJ and Magic and Bird were rivals, LBJ and Dwade are friends so its not the same. Its like this, if Lebron didnt team up with bosh and Wade then some other super team would have formed with someone else thus making it harder for him or anyone else to win. The Celtics did it with the Big 3 and no one said anything. KG, Pierce and Ray Allen were tired of being on losing teams. so they teamed up. So its either step up or get stepped on and Lebron decided to step upp!!!

  16. Jim E. - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Off topic but there is a reason. Why, when there is something written about Cleveland or someone from Cleveland, or “anything” about Cleveland, do people attack the people who live there or the city itself? You freaking idiots who do this apparently have something wrong with you. Maybe it’s a chemical imbalance, or maybe your life sucks for whatever reason, or …who knows? I like reading articles and comments. Articles like this for example, are followed not by on target comments but from people saying hateful things about the City, State, or people in the state. What makes you people tick? Why do you feel you have to do that? You ever been to Cleveland? The city and state of Ohio are like any “other” city or state I have visited. I am not from Cleveland. I have to say though, to miserable sport fan and Cleveland hater, at the same time you are telling Cleveland to get over Queen James, you are the same ones that repeatedly attack Cleveland. So…to that I say…Get Over It!!!!!!!!

  17. Joe - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    worst comment ever

  18. Cleveland Steamer - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Based upon the reading level score of LBJ’s ‘heartfelt’ thank you, it is reasonable to conclude it was written by LBJ or one of his MENSA eligible advisors.
    The guy is a jerk. Anyone with a connection to the Cavs’ organization knew he was a self absorbed man long before this disgrace.
    At all events, why is this even a story? The Browns have opened camp and the Tribe is on a nice little roll. Leave LBJ alone for awhile. Let him come home in peace to do his thing. When he’s done, may he take his talents to South Beach and stay there awhile.

  19. Cleveland Blows...period - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    There is no debate here. Everyone in the country hates Cleveland and rightfully should after their show of ridiculous actions and crying all summer. I know it does no good to say this but GROW UP CLEVELAND!

  20. Anonymous - Aug 3, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    very very true!!! you hit it right on the spot!

  21. Everyone is One - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    Yea, “OK” after I get done with your Mom….Ass Wipe..

  22. Clevelander - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM

    Talk about insult to injury. First, LBJ leaves; then he does it in a way that was devoid of any class or humility; and finally, when Cavs fans (read the ones who paid for the tickets to all the sold out games) get upset, they are in wrong. Personally, if I were to break up with my girlfirend on utube and tell the world it was because she wasn’t good enough, I would expect her to be upset.
    I have a few additional observations:
    (1) The author of the column was not from Cleveland and it is not just the people in Cleveland who have issues with what LBJ did and how he did it.
    (2) Either concepts like loyalty, accountability, and respect are relevant in professional sports or they are not. If those concepts are now irrelevant and its just a business fine, but professional sports looses significant intangibles and appeal to the end consumers of the product that they are trying to sell.
    (3) Yes, LBJ had a legal right to do what he did. Everyone has certain legal rights to engage in self-absorbed activity to the deteriment of society at large. The fact that certain conduct is legal doesn’t always translate into that same conduct being right.

  23. LG - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Doesn’t matter where this arrogant man goes….. He won’t win a title with the Heat!!! KOBE will do it again!!! Three EGOS on one team does not a championship make!

  24. Derrick - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    It’s starting to become pretty obvious by his actions that his decision to leave Cleveland was more than just a business decision. I believe that he has a serious grudge against Cleveland which was created from the way the fans treated him during that his subpar performances during a couple of those games. He was accused of being a loser, of slacking off, of not giving a damn and not to mention being Queen James. I think the fans venom really got to him. Which explains why he has gone out of his way to maximize the pain for Cleveland fans. Not to mention dragging out his decision to leave assuring that Cleveland had no chance at the top 20 free agents.

  25. Ohioan thru and thru - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    NBA Hater, we in Ohio HAVE had a whole team taken away – they moved to Baltimore.

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