When LeBron James, with the help of Lee Jenkins at Sports Illustrated, announced to the world that he was coming home it was hard for me to concentrate on work Friday afternoon. When I did clear my desk for the weekend I headed downtown to join in the celebration.
I went directly to a couple of friend's bars, Moriarty's and AJ Rocco's, for a congratulatory toast. It means quite a cash influx for them and their staff. The streets were full of smiling faces. Car horns were blaring. Some kooks even rented a strech Hummer limo just to be driven around downtown as they hollered their delight out the windows.
In fact, everywhere I went this weekend, including the new Platform Brewery on Lorain and W. 41st, the Groove N Brew Festival in Tyler Village at Superior and E.36th on Saturday, a high school grad party in Westlake that night and a Tribe game on Sunday, there was a palpable joy in the air. And in every conversation I had the mention of LeBron elicited responses like "still in shock" to "this is so great for Cleveland". There wasn't a negative comment to be heard in my circle.
There were a few cranky people on my Facebook feed who had to take a dump on everyone's party. I just don't get that attitude. They whined about the misguided priorities of people. There's so much wrong with Cleveland that we should be focusing our energies elesewhere, they prescribed.
Really? Do they not think that the estimated 500 million dollar influx to the local economy is real? Are they blind to the heart-felt essay that LeBron and Jenkins wrote? In it James says it's bigger than basketball. He wants to come back to northeast Ohio because he feels that he can make a difference in kid's lives. If you don't believe he has that power you're very wrong.
LeBron James return home is inspiring for us all here in Cleveland and Akron. And if his presence can steer one kid away from taking a path which leads him to killing someone like Jim Brennan, well, that's quite an accomplishment off the court.
Cavs fans cruising down Huron celebrating LeBron's return in a rented limo.