We all remember what happened when LeBron left for Miami: Burnt jerseys, angry letters, booing for years... Is the same thing going on in Miami now that he's coming back to Cleveland? Mike DiPasquale, an Akron native who is now a sports anchor at WSVN-TV in Miami, tells Jasen how Miami fans are reacting.
Say whatever you want about four years ago; there's joy across northeast Ohio today with the Return of the King on the lunch menu.
In an essay penned for Sports Illustrated, Akron's own LeBron James annnouned he would be taking his talent to the north coast this time, leaving Miami behind with mixed emotions and gratitute (along with a pair of championship rings) and return to his hometown of Akron and to work as a Cleveland Cavalier.
"It's where I walked. It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled," James noted in a deeply personal message and noting he'd learned lessons from "The Decision" in 2010 when he left the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. The pull to return to Akron took more than just an examination of winning championships; it also took conversations with wife Savannah, expecting their third child, and his mother Gloria with the sting of the reaction four years ago to "The Decision" still open. In particular, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's scathing letter blasting James' move and the burning of his jersey and vitriolic response from critics left scars.
James says he's met with Gilbert, face to face, man to man, and worked the issue out. "We've talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?," James writes in the Sports Illustrated article.
The 2014 decision follows nine days of speculation, rumours, talk show fodder and analysis from the most plugged-in reporters and those miles apart, all citing "sources" but nobody talking with James until the Sports Illustrated announcement took the form of the disasterous interview with Jim Gray on ESPN four years ago.
"Remember when I was sitting up there at the Boys & Girls Club in 2010? I was thinking, This is really tough. I could feel it. I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating. If I had to do it all over again, I'd obviously do things differently, but I'd still have left. Miami, for me, has been almost like college for other kids. These past four years helped raise me into who I am. I became a better player and a better man," James said.
No promise of a championship but most observers say just getting James back on the roster with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Anderson Varajeo puts the team in place as a playoff contender. James also said he's looking forward to playing with another NBA first-round draft pick from this year, Andrew Wiggins, and helping his teammates grow.
You may not recognize his name, but you might remember when James Blair decided to run onto the court during the Cavaliers game against the Heat in March. He was wearing a t-shirt with a message for LeBron James to come back home. That moment has launched the "Come Home LeBron" campaign.
You can hate him or love him, but some fans just want the NBA superstar to come back home. James Blair's stunt to get LeBron's attention has led to the campaign launched by former Cuyahoga Falls resident Josh Raggi.
"When LeBron gets out there and looks up and sees a lot of those green shirts, I'm sure he'll know that those are the people that are still behind him and would support him if he ever wanted to come back," said Blair.
The team leading the campaign will be giving out 2,000 bright green shirts with the message: "Come Home LeBron." It's a strategy that Blair hopes will work, but he said their not "begging" the king to come back.
"It's more to show him that there's still fans that support him and would take him back, than it is for us begging him to come back."
Unfortunately, Blair won't be at the game because he's still banned from Quicken Loans Arena after his stunt on the court. He plans to appeal the decision in March.
The campaign is just getting started. The "Come Home Lebron" campaign will continue through March where they plan to give out 10,000 shirts to fans at the next matchup between the Cavs and the Heat.
More information: comehomelebron.com and twitter.com/ComeHomeLebron
Hey where's my flag?
That's what one Cuyahoga Falls family is asking after their Miami Heat flag was stolen from the family's front porch.
The Cuyahoga Falls Patch reports police were called out to a home on Elmwood Street last week after the flag was stolen.
It was valued at $42.
Akron's favorite son LeBron James and his Miami Heat team won their secound straight NBA Championship Thursday over the San Antonio Spurs.
On the Web: http://cuyahogafalls.patch.com/
Akron's own LeBron James will become a married man.
Entertainment news site TMZ.com reports that the Miami Heat and former Cleveland Cavaliers player, who played his high school ball at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary's, proposed to long-time girlfriend Savannah Brinson at a New Year's Eve party in Miami.
A representative of "The King" confirmed the engagement this morning to the Associated Press.
LeBron turned 27 on Friday.
James has been getting a large number of congratulations on his Twitter account, from a wide variety of stars, fellow NBA stars and others.
Savannah is the mother of LeBron's two children, LeBron Jr. and Bryce, and the couple has been together since his St. V's days.
There's no word yet when or where the wedding will take place.
On the Web: TMZ, www.tmz.com