“I’m Coming Home” Part 2

With LeBron James returning to Cleveland comes a shift in the balance of power. The equations we conjured in our heads before the King’s announcement have shifted, been re-construed or changed. So, Poverty Nodes will continue to follow LeBron James when the next Basketball season begins and during next spring’s playoff.

Let’s be clear that LeBron chose to come home. Some see it as gamble with his legacy – especially if the Cavaliers don’t win. Regardless, ESPN NBA Insider Amin Elhassan, reported that LeBron’s business partner, Maverick Carter, indicated that LeBron feels good about that decision and that he deliberated and thought about it. He was not pushed by anyone. It came from the heart!

 What James’ Coming Home Means to Cleveland and perhaps Ohio.

So, here is part of the impact of LeBron’s decision to Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and indeed, all of Ohio. (James had expressed that The Ohio State University – by the way, my Alma mater – would have been his choice of college had he chosen that path!  It’s conceivable to imagine some young Ohio State Buckeye dreaming of meeting him at a Buckeyes’ game – football or basketball). Anyway, here are a few derivatives of LeBron’s trip home.

Good Neighbor

As James decided to come home, so did the traffic!  To assure that “he’s in the good graces” of his Ohio neighbors, last Tuesday…”James sent a team from a Fairlawn, Ohio, bakery around his immediate neighborhood in Bath Township to deliver cupcakes to apologize for the traffic jams caused by the interest in James’ return earlier this month…” Mike and Mike of ESPN 2 said that it was his wife who executed the cupcake deals!

Role Model

A.B. Wilkinson in a Huffington Post blog of 7/14/14 sees the Return of the Role Model. An excerpt of that blog reads:

“LeBron James is setting an example and sending a powerful message we should all pay attention to: after you’ve made it, don’t just give back, go back. Whether you’re a basketball fan or not, this is an important lesson to take away from LeBron’s decision to leave the Miami Heat and return his talents to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers.” LeBron returned to both the place of his birth and the birth place of his career. The message here is that LeBron is not simply concerned with winning championships but that “he’s also a family man, a leader in his community, and a positive example for millions of youth and adults.”


Finally, there is LeBronomy – and I just love this word!  As John Kosich wrote in a local news-net around Cleveland, on July 14th, 2014, LeBronomy is the economic impact that LeBron James’s return brings to Cleveland. It is not LeBron’s own earning power, but really the dollars and cents that follow him.  It is the impact on the local economy – a big financial win for Cleveland! According to Bloomberg, this is not just for the Cavaliers — although the value of that franchise just skyrocketed and “the amount of sponsor dollars flowing in will become a river — but also for the City of Cleveland.”

According to the Cuyahoga County Executive, Ed FitzGerald, the star’s return will have a $500 million a year impact on the local economy, with a boost from additional ticket sales and other spending. It will increase the benefit from Cavs games alone to about $268 million. Other calculations indicate that spending increases will come at restaurants, convention business and hotels. Anticipated benefits include a $34 million increase in annual spending by fans at games to $170 million a year plus 500 additional jobs supported by the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers already announced within hours of the proposed LeBron’s return “that they sold out of season tickets.” Last year, they ranked 16th of the NBA’s 30 team in attendance and drew 84 percent of capacity (an average of 17,329 a game). Individual game tickets are expected to go quickly when they come up for sale, guaranteeing the team’s return to the days where they average the sellout crowd of 20,562 a night!

So, LeBron is returning as a more matured and experienced player to the franchise that drafted him as a young man. He is ready to finish what he started. As a free agent in 2010, what LeBron said was overshadowed by the delivery mode. As a 2014 free agent, the delivery mode was different because he explained his logic through a thoughtful discussion with Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. Simply contrasting these two delivery modes bespeak of the man who has come home!

In a Washington Post interview with Mark Berman, Kevin Merida had this to say:

Well, Mark, LeBron spoke eloquently in Sports Illustrated about what home means to him. I can’t top that. But here’s my added take: Over the past four years, he has been steadily, savvily re-chiseling his image. Great commercials featuring his family…  Smart interviews, a TNT special. Speaking out on controversial subjects — Trayvon Martin, Donald Sterling. He is the Ambassador of the League now. Returning to Cleveland was the last thing left to be done to remove whatever stain remains from “The Decision.” He’s like Rocky now — savior of the hardscrabble city.”

Welcome home LeBron James!

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