F Departed LeBron praises hometown in newspaper ad - Powcast Sports

Departed LeBron praises hometown in newspaper ad


AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James, the NBA star who ditched the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat began paving the way for a smooth Ohio homecoming with a full-page advertisement in his hometown newspaper on Tuesday.

James, who announced in July he was leaving the nearby Cavaliers to play with pals Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh at Miami, will attend an annual charity event where he gives away hundreds of bikes and rides in downtown Akron.

"Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life," said the ad James bought in the Akron Beacon Journal. "It's where I started and it's where I will always come back to."

Whether or not he will be welcomed is the major question. Fans notably burned Cavaliers' jerseys with James' name on them in the wake of his announcement and Cavaliers' owner Dan Gilbert spoke of feeling betrayed by the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, vowing to win an NBA crown before the Heat.

James notably did not mention Cleveland when he praised Akron.

"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," James said in the ad.

An eight-mile bike ride that had followed previous bike days was dropped this year.

Just two days earlier, another former Cleveland star who left to join James at Miami - Lithuanian center Zydrunas Ilgauskas - took out an advertisement in the Plain Dealer newspaper of Cleveland to thank Cavs' fans for their support.

The anti-James feeling runs so deep that a fan at a baseball game in Cleveland wearing a Miami Heat jersey with James' name on it had to be escorted out of the stadium after other spectators dumped beer and peanuts upon him.


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