Bigger than Basketball: The Transformative Power of LeBron James

by Cleveland Frowns on July 16, 2014

If we’ve learned anything in the days since LeBron James announced that he’ll return to his native Northeast Ohio to play again for the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s that the reports of locals burning his jersey had been greatly exaggerated.

Not only did the majority of Cavs fans never burn their gear, they didn’t throw it out or hand it off to Goodwill, either. Hell, even Dan Gilbert and his family hung on to their LeBron gear, per the Cavs’ owner’s (possibly apocryphal) tweet: “My 8-year-old: ‘Daddy, does this mean I can finally wear my Lebron jersey, again?’…Yes it does, son. Yes it does!”


No, those jerseys at Gilbert’s house and others were tucked safely in closets and basements, tacit reminders of the hope Northeast Ohioans held that LeBron might one day come home and they’d wear them again.

Last Friday night, they did.

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  • Cleveland Frowns

    Also on newsstands tomorrow if you want to pick up a hard copy. Next week I’ll update this post with the full text that includes source links that won’t run at Scene’s online piece.

    Also, here’s a few more good reads on LeBron and LeBron-type things, a couple of which I also posted in the last thread:

  • Beeej

    Since the hype has died down (somewhat), I thought about driving by Lebron’s on my way home after work and honking as I went past. Then I remembered I was a grown man, too mature for such things. I made a little detour and honked as I drove by Larry Nance’s house instead. poundsignCatch22

    • Cleveland Frowns

      I still have the ATM receipt that Nance autographed for me at Friday’s on the hill circa ’99. The $20 that he generously donated to the ’95 RHS patron drive, however, is a completely different story.

  • nj0

    The bullshit prediction on LBJ’s economic impact was $500 million not $50M as it currently reads.

    • Cleveland Frowns

      $50M annually, though, I believe it’s correct as written.

      • nj0

        Ah, true. It’s still confusing to me because then there’s the line – “But even that’s less than 0.5 percent in North East Ohio’s $100 billion economy.” $50M is 0.05 of $100 billion. So then that sentence is off by a factor of ten. It is still technically correct, but it annoys me. Splitting hairs, I know.

        • bupalos

          How many lebrons can dance on the head of a pin?

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Thank you Mr. Aquinas.

  • bupalos

    As pretty much always, best in the business.

    I’m way more excited about the return than I ever thought I’d be. But then I never thought the return would be on these terms. I didn’t see that potential in Lebron. There is such a gulf between “I’m taking my talents to south beach” and the much more complex statement that I’d paraphrase as “I’m coming home and investing Akron’s talents where they can do the most good.” It’s such a gulf that one wonders how it can be crossed in 4 years. It is of nearly biblical proportions, and calls to mind the biblical significance of “talents.”

    Will he live up to the transformative expectations that this statement engenders? Who knows. But I simply couldn’t be happier with where he’s setting the bar.


    Possibly apocryphal? You need to have kids.
    Size of 4-year-old

    Size of 8-year-old

    Safe to say I still don’t see the potential in Gilbert.

    • bupalos

      Aw. I really wanna see the comment.

    • Dave Kolonich

      Gilbert deserves absolutely none of this – and honestly, did very little to make it happen, yet he stands to benefit the most. He’s an apt illustration of what’s wrong with America today – building a fortune off the backs of people (predatory lending and casinos) without giving anything back to the communities he’s helping to destroy. In basketball terms, he has done nothing but run an NBA franchise into the ground – only to get bailed out by LeBron’s (d)ecision.

      Gilbert is what distracts me from what is the biggest (positive) Cleveland sports story in 50 years. Obviously, it’s a huge win for NE Ohio – both in terms of image and hopefully in real, tangible improvement for the people and economy. However, it’s an even bigger win for the basic humanity of people who weren’t “burning jerseys” four years ago.

      • bupalos

        Don’t assume Lebron didn’t put the screws to him worse (better) than has been documented and reported. Or won’t.

        Mr. Gilbert, tear down this casino!

        • humboldt

          “Ask not what your city can do for you…”

          • actovegin1armstrong

            Ask how you may hook up with Marilyn Monroe.

          • humboldt

            “If you can’t stand the heat…take away their best player”

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Pity the poor souls who see nothing but dollar signs when they look at LeBron and his return home. I’m holding onto the notion that much of last Friday’s jubilation (or celebroning, since it really deserves its own special descriptor from what I’ve heard) came from a much deeper place. I think people all over the country felt it along with us. Appreciate your thoughts as always, Frowns.

    • PML

      Celebroning sounds like a dirty word. Also, that was awesome – nothing sarcastic or cynical from me about how that went down. I rocked my Cavs gear around Manhattan Beach like I was king of the world that day.

      • CleveLandThatILove

        Pure, unbounded joy (stealing from another king). Awesome it was.

  • BIKI024


    • beeej


      • bupalos


      • BIKI024

        it’s nearly impossible. we wouldn’t have the cap space, unless Wolves decide to wait it out and do a sign and trade next summer, which is also highly unlikely.

        they seem to be in the driver’s seat now, and aren’t in any rush, so it’s a poker game, we’ll see who caves first.

    • Chris Mc

      Trade what for Love? Just curious what you’d be willing to part with.

      • BIKI024

        i’m sure Griffin and his guys will figure out something that is in the best interest of the team and hopefully don’t end up overpaying. i don’t have a crystal ball like some people seem to have about how well any of our young assets will end up developing over the next 2-3 years, but that’s why the scouts get paid the big bucks.

        based on previous blockbusters for Melo, Dwight Howard, even Shaq and Gasol, we don’t have to give up the farm for a guy who can just as easily walk from the Wolves for nothing next summer, so the Cavs have all the leverage and shouldn’t be in any rush, can even wait until trade deadline next Feb.

        i guess it all depends on what Bron wants, i’d have to believe he would love to have the best stretch 4 in the game for the next 5 years to give them as dangerous of a Big 3 as there’s been… will be interesting to see how it plays out.

    • Petefranklin


  • p_forever

    our little grinch hearts grew 3 sizes last friday, and i think now we’re all caught up to you frownie. thanks for explaining why so eloquently.

    roast beast for everyone! yay.

    • actovegin1armstrong

      Extra “likes” for the “roast beast”!
      When I stop at one of our local roach coaches to get a taco, I usually ask for “roast beast”. Although I am most likely eating a road kill armadillo.

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