Watching "The Decision" last summer was one of the more unsettling experiences most of us have ever encountered. At least amongst those that don't regularly watch scripted "reality" TV. The uneasiness with LeBron James'(notes) buildup to his decision as to who to sign with leapt across the board, regardless of team affiliation, age, interest level, or sense of tact. Nobody thought "The Decision" was a good idea. Even if it did produce some hilarious results.
One good thing did come out of it, though. The program raised more than $2 million for various Boys & Girls Clubs, and nearly half a million dollars has been sent to clubs in Northeast Ohio -- site of James' former home of Akron, and the NBA domain of his former Cleveland Cavaliers club.
Mark Gillespie of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has the breakdown:
A contribution of nearly $60,000 repaired a leaky roof, refurbished a dingy gymnasium and will pay for a new playground at the Mount Pleasant club on East 131st Street. And the Slavic Village club on Broadway received $70,000, which was used to install a new gym floor and purchase bleachers. The club also is waiting on delivery of 20 new computers.
Both clubs also received a video sports training system and $2,500 worth of sports gear.
In addition to the $2 million cash contribution, James arranged for the donation of $500,000 in computers from Hewlett-Packard and $500,000 in gear from Nike. Fifty-nine Boys & Girls Clubs across the country are receiving help from James.
News like this helps "The Decision" go down a little easier as the focus on James turns more to basketball, and less on the look-at-me production that he sent our way last July. And, as the waves from "The Decision's" wake shrink smaller and smaller as the months move on, most of us will start to once again regard LeBron James as a basketball player, and not the guy from that pathetic mess run terribly by Jim Gray.
The next generation, including a child named "LaBron," are already one step ahead of us. From the Plain-Dealer:
Kids playing basketball on the new floor at the Broadway Avenue club Tuesday afternoon had a more forgiving attitude toward James than is typically expressed by those who continue to demonize him on sports talk radio.
"I think he deserves to get a ring," said LaBron Sanford, 14. "He just went to a better team."
Dave Archibold, 15, echoed LaBron's sentiments. And he's happy with James' gift.
"This is a good floor," he said. "I'll remember him for that."
The Elyria club received $110,000, money that is paying for a new fitness center and improvements to the basketball court. The club also is getting 15 new computers.
Even the skeeviest of clouds have a silver lining, apparently.
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