Cleveland’s Response to LeBron James’s Return in 2014

Lebron James - I'm Coming Home Sports Illustrated Story

LeBron James’s return to Cleveland and the Sports Illustrated article were a branding masterpiece of humility, maturity, regret and hope. In a few heartfelt paragraphs, LeBron made a lot of us forget the debacle that was his first Decision, and showed his growth. I know…I’m sure his marketing and PR people wrote it, but the President has speech writers. So, I don’t see this being much different. I do think it’s appropriate that the city of Cleveland have the opportunity to respond. So, with that, I give you my take on that response (I’ll be playing the part of the city of Cleveland): 

Lebron James Billboard in Cleveland
Photo by Mark Duncan/AP

We got some great news this week as LeBron James announced he was coming back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron, count me as one of the most excited that you’re returning. I truly appreciated your article on Color me impressed and touched by the sincerity you showed. It was the perfect antithesis to your “Decision” TV show four years ago where you publicly humiliated me. I understand you were younger then and you’ve grown. I’ve grown too. Back then, I was way too reliant on your celebrity status to attract fans downtown and to our restaurants and bars. 

Photo of East 4th Street in Cleveland

You leaving had a huge effect on my economy. It was a wake-up call that I desperately needed. It forced me to build myself back up…but not based on any one sports star or team. This time we did it right. I’ve now got many world-class restaurants and bars, two casinos, a new convention center, new hotels…oh, did I mention how many people now are living downtown! We’ve still got the Rock Hall, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital and our incredible museums. It’s amazing how many people have stepped up to make me a better city. They tell as many people as they can how much they love living here. You’re right when you say that we work for what we get. We’ve worked hard while you were gone and the country and world are taking notice. 

Lebron James and Kyrie Irving

What I’m trying to say is that your returning presence is great for the Cleveland Cavaliers and for me. But, now it’s an enhancement that adds to what we’ve built. You’re not my identity. I hope you do actually finish your career here and win a championship with the Cavaliers (Update: Cavs win 2016 NBA Championship!). But, whether you do, I’m Cleveland and I’m damn proud to be. So, come back for one, two, four, five years or whatever. I’m glad to have you and wish you all the success in the world. Let’s take this to the next level and have some fun together.

Well, that’s my response if I was Cleveland to Lebron James’s return. What would you say to LeBron? Are you excited that he’s coming back? Are you still mad about him leaving in the first place? Tell me below. Thanks for reading and please share this post with your friends!

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