Last March an attention-seeking doofus named James Blair stormed the Quicken Loans Arena floor during a Cleveland Cavaliers/Miami Heat game, and afterward he was almost universally derided for being an attention-seeking doofus. Wearing a t-shirt that said “WE MISS YOU,” Blair ran up to former Cavaliers forward LeBron James, showed him the “LEBRON 2014” written on the back of his shirt, in reference to James’ potential free agent run this summer should he decide to opt out of his contract with the Heat.
Somehow, this doofus and law-breaker (Blair was rightfully banned from Quicken Loans Arena soon after) inspired a group of Cavs “fans” (we think) to start a movement to bring James back to Cleveland, by handing out t-shirts. T-shirts that aren’t even the color of Cavalier wine and gold. Marla Ridenour at the Akron Beacon Journal (via Dime) spoke with the group in anticipation of James’ return to Cleveland on Wednesday with the Heat:
“Last year when James Blair stormed the court, I was watching at home,” said Raggi, who grew up in Cuyahoga Falls but now lives in Cranberry Township, Pa. “My partner was at the game, sitting two rows in front of James Blair. We saw the fans’ reaction, overwhelming. We got to talking, ‘We might have something here.’ ”
Before the Cavs host the Heat, Raggi, Blair and supporters will pass out 2,000 bright green T-shirts at three tables outside the Q from 5:30 to 7:15 p.m. Those who take a picture wearing the shirt and tweet @ComeHomeLebron will be eligible to win 2014-15 Cavs season tickets.
But that’s just the start of their campaign, aimed at getting James to leave Miami for the Cavs in free agency in July. On Monday, a Come Home LeBron billboard will go up near James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, for four or eight weeks. Another is slated for Interstate 71 at Pearl Road at the end of December for one week; it will return in mid-February and remain until the end of March.
The Cavs and two-time NBA champion Heat meet for three games this season, the last at the Q on March 18, when Raggi and his crew hope to distribute 10,000 T-shirts. Some will be passed out Dec. 14 at the opening of the renovated St. V-M gymnasium, funded by a $1 million donation from James.
It’s somewhat understandable that Raggi and Blair wouldn’t want to be seen showing up in Cavs colors, as the Mike Brown-led outfit has started the season with a 4-10 clip. The team was a hoped-for playoff contender entering 2013-14, but inconsistent play on both ends has done the young squad in, with the team dropping nine spots offensively in comparison to 2012-13, a year that featured star guard Kyrie Irving for only 59 games.
This was supposed to be the season that inspired James to leave his older Heat teammates behind and re-join the team he led to the Finals in 2007 before leaving for South Beach in the summer of 2010. This is a worrying start, though, because Brown has lost control of several squads before this one in both Cleveland and with the Los Angeles Lakers, all while general manager Chris Grant has been rightfully criticized for possibly whiffing on draft hauls featuring Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett.
Thompson and Waiters are serviceable players, but a step down from those they were selected in front of (Jonas Valanciunas amongst many others for Thompson, Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond amongst many others for Waiters). Bennett, meanwhile, has struggled terribly to start his first season – he may eventually round into a good pro, but last June’s top overall pick has missed 33 of his first 42 shots from the field as a rookie.
Toss in the head-scratching return of Brown, and you have a strange team that could be wasting the first few years of what will be a brilliant career for Irving. Not exactly a boffo setting for James to leave Miami money on the table to return to.
That’s not stopping the Come Home LeBron folks, who have their own website, Instagram and Twitter account – one that allows them to be called “pathetic” by both Cleveland and Miami fans in 140 characters or less. I suppose going after LeBron in public is a noble cause, especially after that 4-10 start, but if an attention-seeking doofus in James Blair is your hero in this particular regard, you may want to rethink things.
Then again, Blair may have an ally in James. Apparently he renounced his Cleveland fandom a while ago, partying with LeBron and the Heat after they won the title last year. It’s almost as if he gets on, I don’t know, a bandwagon of some sort to follow James from team to team. From the Akron Beacon-Journal:
Blair has more than 7,400 Twitter followers, which still include King James. Blair was featured in the LeBron issue of ESPN The Magazine. He attended Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals and the Heat’s victory party, where James spotted him on the dance floor below and saluted. In an interview with Sports Illustrated about that night, James said, “Yeah, that’s James Blair, he’s my guy.”
Seriously. Some fans are THE WORST.
Enjoy the free green t-shirts, Cleveland.
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