By: Demetrius Pate
In the summer of 2010, everybody had a big speculation of one of our hometown hero’s leaving Cleveland. Everyone gathered around their televisions to watch the “Decision”. LeBron James was about to make decision of a lifetime, stay home or go to another city and build up another franchise. As we watched on, he said the words that will always stick with a Cavs fan. He said, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach.” Fans in Northeast Ohio were devastated, shocked and sad. You would’ve thought that people thought it was the end of the world. Fans asked, “How could he do us like this?” and “Why did he have to go to Miami?” People burned any LeBron apparel they could get their hands on and deemed LeBron a traitor. King James went on to win two championships while Cleveland continued to be one of the worst teams in NBA history. But when LeBron left, people didn’t realize the economic impact that our community would face. LeBron is a force on and off the court but, without him Cleveland took a big hit. Let’s take a look at some of the ways he effected Cleveland when he left and came back.
He brings global exposer to the area
The NBA Finals is a big event and LeBron has brought the event to Cleveland three times. Fifty-nine countries covered the NBA Finals here in Cleveland and that’s great for our Culture. Let’s be completely honest with ourselves, we don’t get that top of exposure without LeBron coming back. When people visit, they want to visit our bars and restaurants and that sounds like money to Downtown Cleveland.
2. Bars are “Boomin”
When LeBron left for those four years, Downtown Cleveland was pretty much a “ghost town” during Cavs games. People got laid off and jobs left Cleveland because well without LeBron it’s just Cleveland, right??? Downtown Cleveland businesses were estimated to lose 48 million dollars if LeBron didn’t come back that summer. The man has saved businesses and local bar owners are reporting revenue increases on game nights of between 30 and 200 percent from the season before LeBron departed and when he returned. Bartenders and waitresses are staying employment now instead of getting laid off until the summer time. Since James has been back, the Cavs have made Finals runs and bars are making bank!!
3. Major business are “Flockin” back to Cleveland
Your not familiar with Cleveland if you haven’t see this big image of LeBron in downtown Cleveland. When he left, the community was so sick and wanted the famed portrait taken down immediately. Sherwin Williams replaced LeBron’s picture but, just didn’t seem to fit. After the RNC, the locals wanted it back up and got their wish. Nike recently shot a commercial in Cleveland for LeBron and it brought attention to the city’s East 9th street. It was just reported that Amazon will bring an pickup location here in Downtown Cleveland (Sutyak, 2017). I would bet my last dollar that LeBron has a lot to do with that. Businesses are coming around because of LeBron James, not because of the Cleveland Browns/Clowns.
4. The King is the real mayor of Akron
LeBron might have turned into a villain here in Cleveland but, has always been loved by Akron. They have always showed him love and never turned their backs on him. When he flocked south for Miami, they still bought his Miami number 6 jersey. James has kept his promise by investing in Akron. When he came back, he built recreation centers, refurbished parks and upgraded basketball courts. He’s partnered with the University of Akron to put more than 1,100 students through college tuition-free (Simmons, 2016). He’s believing in his city and banking on Akron. I was always told to “not forget where you come from”. It looks like LeBron was taught the same lesson and it’s always the right way to go when you’re investing in the community you grew up in.
5. The Cavs to get a new playground
The Cleveland Cavaliers have played in a dump even when LeBron was here for his first tenure. It was reported that the team would receive a 140 million dollar renovation to the 22 year old arena. Cleveland needed to do this because it would have stopped attracting major acts and that would stop the money flow. It will bring bars and new dining space in the arena and would also bring an All-Star game in Cleveland in 2020. In my opinion, LeBron should receive a check for the Arena he basically has built. This will be a state of the art facility for a state of the art player. And he is impacting everything in Cleveland. The definition of this LeBron effect is “LeConomics”.
We need to take into consideration how great LeBron is as a person. Let’s forget about LeBron the basketball player for a moment. LeBron the business man is a hard worker and is going to be a billionaire one day. He’s revitalizing a city with his talents and using his brain trust to change the people around him. LeBron has television shows coming to Cleveland and even brought his movie premiere “Train Wreck”. He showed off Akron and brought people to him and business to him. LeBron the charity man is a great man and cares about his community. He’s invested in the children and you can’t be wrong when you put the kids first. Like Jay-Z said, “I’m not a business man, I’m a “Business man”. That’s the perfect example for LeBron as he has turned into an empire himself alone.