Wooing LeBron James: Politicians Shamelessly Courting NBA Superstar

"Come on LeBron -- write the next chapter in NYC basketball history," Bloomberg said in a video that features sweeping views of New York City and boasts of the culture and excitement it has to offer off the court. "As the good book says, 'lead us to the promised land,' and that's a quote from the King James version."

On Wednesday, Vice President Biden threw out his own prediction at a political fundraiser in Ohio that "LeBron James is coming back" to Cleveland.

Even President Obama couldn't resist putting in a pitch for his beloved Chicago Bulls.

"You know, like I said, I don't want to meddle. I will say this: Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah -- it's a pretty good core," the president said in an interview with TNT during this year's NBA playoffs. "You know, you could see LeBron fitting in pretty well there."

James has made it clear that the chance to win an NBA title will drive his decision about where to play next season.

So are all these politicians wasting their time focusing on what their city and fans have to offer?

"If you emphasize all the off the court stuff more than the basketball, then you run the risk of insulting LeBron James and certainly you won't get him based on your off-the-court stuff," ESPN's Chris Broussard said.

The Knicks and Nets met with James today in the Cleveland office of his business manager. The Heat are expected Friday. The Bulls and Cavs solicit James Saturday. No deal can be signed until July 8, when the NBA's new salary cap takes effect. It leaves fans searching for any source of insight. Even a psychic's.

"It doesn't appear to me that he really wants to move," said Gina Kruzel, who has been reading Tarot cards in Cleveland for 28 years.

Her surety is not enough for those in Cleveland who worry James will leave them in a lurch.

"It would be good for sports, I think, for a hometown boy to actually stay with his hometown and be loyal," one fan from Cleveland said.

A Matter of Civic Pride

But no matter what happens, Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic wants his citizens to remain calm and take no offense.

"There are people who will be mad at him personally," Plusquellic said. "He has been very clear in every statement that he has made: Akron is his hometown.

"He needs to sign for two or three more years and give what he promised: one ring," said one man.

Cleveland is used to having its heart broken. The city has never won an NBA title -- in fact, it hasn't won any sports titles since 1964.

James has played his entire pro career in Cleveland, entering the NBA straight of out high school. He is the city's most famous resident and arguably the most famous athlete in the nation. For Cavaliers fans, he's their local boy done well and their best hope for sports greatness.

For Cleveland fans, keeping their hometown hero LeBron James is about civic pride -- but a championship would be nice, too.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 11056603.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...