The total count of the times “hometown” was used to describe Cleveland vis-a-vis LeBron James is somewhere near the total count of times the Brooklyn Brawler was pinned in his WWF career. But anyone who lived in Ohio can tell you, Akron is not Cleveland, and Cleveland is not Akron. Moreover, neither an Akron citizen, nor a Cleveland citizen would much appreciate you mistaking which city is which. That includes LeBron James.
The King was born in Akron, not Cleveland, in 1984, and was raised alone by his mother. He played high school hoops in Akron, not Cleveland, at St. Vincent-St. Mary. It was in Akron, not Cleveland, that he gained notoriety as the next big thing by the likes of ESPN. And even when he began working for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James decided that his home would be in Akron, not Cleveland.
So it should come as no surprise that in the wake of Zydrunas Ilgauskas buying ad space in Cleveland’s premiere newspaper, The Plain Dealer, to thank the city for all the memories, that LeBron James took out similar ad space in a different newspaper, The Akron Beacon Journal. “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.” James said.
Cleveland, thus far, has received nothing of the like from James. It’s hard to blame him. Cleveland is where they burned his jerseys. Cleveland is where they applauded Dan Gilbert for his childish tantrum – to the point of stupidity, wherein fans tried to pay a rich man’s fine for him. Cleveland is where years of basketball prosperity and relevance where forgotten about over the hour it took LeBron to foolishly televise his free agency decision. It’s very clear now. Cleveland was never really in LeBron’s heart – and this love song to Akron is proof that King James giveth with one hand, and taketh away with the other. It’s not just an ad, it’s another shot across the bow between Cleveland and LeBron. It won’t be long before some former season ticket holder in Cleveland takes out some ad space of his or her own.
People have wondered over the past month, how LeBron could so easily leave Cleveland. It’s obvious when you know the facts. LeBron was not born in Cleveland. He did not live in Cleveland. He did not play high school hoops there. His posse is not from there. Wherever he may be, he is LeBron of Akron, not Cleveland.