Drastic Times Call For
Drastic Fawning Over LBJ
By JOHN P. WISE
One Great Season
It's been nearly two weeks since the Cavaliers completed their season in a disappointing Eastern Conference semifinal-round loss to Boston, and I've heard surprisingly little coming out of Cleveland since.
If that city wants to keep LeBron and thereby continue to think its first pro sports championship in more than 50 years is still within reach, it needs to do something drastic.
Making sports headlines for more than 18 months have been reports of what rap mogul Jay-Z, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Gotham greats have had to say about LeBron moving his NBA game to the media capital of the world.
And since ESPN's Chris Broussard started reporting two weeks ago that James had taken a liking to Chicago, now that city's luminaries -- even President Barack Obama -- are weighing in on the prospects of LBJ taking his broad shoulders to Chitown.
EXTRA: More LeBron James Coverage
The NBA's Nets, Clippers and even Heat also appear to be in the running to sign James after he becomes a free agent on July 1.
But what exactly has Cleveland done to show its love? Inexplicably, not much at all, it turns out.
During his seven years in Cleveland, the city has added giant, several-stories-tall images of LeBron on the sides of downtown buildings. But those are more the doings of his biggest sponsor, Nike, than they are of the people of Cleveland.
Which is why those in the 216 need to do something and do it quickly. They only have five weeks or so to show LeBron that they desperately want him to stay, that just because of two subpar playoff games, they still love him and that they'll shell out their hard-earned meager wages to continue to fill Quicken Loans Arena all 41 nights next winter.
So Cleveland, if you're listening, here are some steps you can take to show the greatest basketball player on the planet that you want him to re-sign with your Cavaliers:
+ Announce a LeBron James Day -- perhaps June 21 to mark the first day of summer -- where Mayor Frank Jackson hands over the keys to the city to LeBron, and residents flock down to Public Square for a big rally. Maybe change the name of the city for that day to LeBronland.
+ I'm not sure what the tourism marketing slogan is for the city of Cleveland, but maybe change it to LeBron On The Lake or Loyalty On The Lake.
+ If you don't like that line, how about, "Cleveland: We Might Light Our River On Fire, But At Least The World's Greatest Basketball Player Lives Here."
+ New York has its Canyon Of Heroes and Chicago's got Grant Park. I'm not sure where Cleveland would ever honor a championship team, but maybe it should plan that now and call it LeBron James Way.
+ Send Spencer Tunick back to Cleveland to shoot a gaggle of hot women lying naked on the ground in front of the Q, spelling out P-L-E-A-S-E S-T-A-Y L-E-B-R-O-N. Cleveland's got to have enough hot naked women to spell that out, right?
+ Urge Earnest Byner, Craig Ehlo, Brian Sipe and Charles Nagy to visit King James and regale him in the tales of their near-postseason successes. Surely they've thought many times since their high-stakes disappointments what things would have been like had their individual failures not led to heartbreak. Perhaps they can convince LeBron how great it would be to finally bring that starved city a championship. Could any town love one man more?
If Cleveland doesn't take some drastic measures soon, those WE ARE ALL WITNESSES t-shirts will take on a drastically different meaning shortly after July 1.