Tue Aug 03 10:35am EDT
It is easy to criticize LeBron James(notes) for the way he handled free agency, but sometimes when you're a 25-year-old multi-gazillionaire you have to star in a one-hour tone-deaf television special explaining that you want to play basketball with your besties down by the beach. That's just how these things work sometimes. Necessity is the mother of bad television programming, as they do not say.
While LeBron said a lot of weird things that night, one thing he was adamant about was his love for his hometown of Akron. No, not Cleveland, but specifically Akron, assumedly because he is an enormous fan of female kangaroos in varsity sweaters (who isn't?). As such, LeBron has done the sensible thing and thanked his legion of fans in the Rubber Capital of the World — no, not Cleveland —nearly four weeks after breaking their hearts with a full-page ad in the Akron Beacon-Journal. Here's the text, courtesy of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
"To My Family, Friends and Fans in Akron:
"For all my life, I have lived in Akron -- and for that, I am truly a lucky man.
"It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.
"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."
He then signed "LeBron" at the bottom of the ad.
Perfect little bit of PR. Sure, it doesn't thank anyone in Cleveland, doesn't mention the Cavaliers and is 3 1/2 weeks late, but other than that LeBron nailed it. Very well-crafted and well thought out, just like "The Decision." And hey, free fake autograph — you're welcome, Akron.
Maybe a Cleveland-centric advertisement is in the works and we don't even know about it, but I think this letter tells us everything we need to know about how LeBron views Cleveland. Basically, Akron's his home — or, maybe not — and Cleveland's just a place he worked. If that's how he feels, then this is the exact thing he should have written. I mean, I would never write a letter to my living room, even though that's where I work (also, living rooms can't read since they are non-sentient). But just a day after seeing Zydrunas Ilgauskas'(notes) perfect example of a farewell letter, this seems a bit off, which seems to be LeBron James' strategy this entire summer.
Or maybe LeBron is just a little too scared of addressing Cleveland fans through a flammable medium. He looked more than a little rattled when he saw images of his jersey being burned, so it stands to reason that he wouldn't want to provide kindling for another LeBronfire.
(photo via Baltimore Sun)