News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Lehmans

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Sports


Akron says LeBron James never really left
Although his exit in 2010 hit Cleveland hard, many Akronites say his 'return' is not really a 'return' -- and it's not surprising either way
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
James Warner (left) is director of the LeBron James Boys & Girls Club in southeast Akron. Brian Brown is a student at LeBron's alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary. Both say the four-time MVP stayed involved in Summit County, even while living in Miami
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
It's been a love fest in Akron today as LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. And as WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports, it’s very emotional for the four-time MVP and for his hometown.
LISTEN: Did LeBron really leave Akron in 2010?

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:45)


In an emotional essay to fans on SI.com, LeBron James says the time away was tough for him, and his heart remained in Northeast Ohio after he left the Cavs for Miami in 2010. He specifically mentioned the Boys & Girls Clubs, saying, “I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating.”

James Warner is director of the LeBron James Boys & Girls Club in southeast Akron, which was built with some of the proceeds from James’ 2010 television special announcing he was leaving Cleveland.

"When people say that he was gone -- I can't tell you that he wasn't gone because he came here. And visited the kids here. He was very concerned about their education. Very concerned about his club site.

"So I don't think he's ever left. It's nice that he's coming back to play basketball here, so we can enjoy that. (But) regardless of where he plays basketball, what he's provided for these boys and girls in this community has been amazing. So they have a safe, fun place to go.

“To the kids here, Jordan is the shoes. But they know LeBron James as the best basketball player on Planet Earth.”

Akron is special
Brian Brown is one of those kids at the center, and also a senior at James’ alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary.

“Him coming back is what the community needed. I feel like when you’re from a place like Akron, that you’re always going to come back because we are special; we’re a special town. So with LeBron coming back, it wasn’t a surprise to me. LeBron is a great man. He always gives back. He always tries to find ways to enrich the community.”

LeBron’s continued ties to Northeast Ohio were laid out in the Sports Illustrated essay. James says he wants to raise his soon-to-be-three children back in his hometown. Plain Dealer sports reporter Terry Pluto, who has covered James since he was in high school, is not surprised.

“Because from the outside, people say, 'You're picking Cleveland and Akron over Miami? Are you out of your mind?! That makes no sense.' I think after he moved away, he missed this area more than he ever imagined. And that's true of a lot of people from Northeast Ohio.”

The move also did not surprise LeBron’s former coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary, Keith Dambrot, who was on a recruiting trip for the University of Akron when the news broke.

“He hasn't really changed a whole lot. He's always been a good person. He's always been team-oriented [and] business-oriented. He just made a business decision that he felt he had to make. And now he's coming back to try to give back to this community, which is a great thing.”

Fans hope that includes a championship -- or six. Attendance at The Q will likely spike. Television ratings increased eight-fold during James’ first stint here, from 2003 to 2010, then dropped by more than half when he left for Miami.

Pluto expects the Cavs’ win-loss record will dramatically improve with LeBron’s return. But in his essay, LeBron cautions, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned.”
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

ResponsibleOhio leader says the state is trying to set Issue 3 up for failure
Ohio suppose to believe that a group of investors were united under one cause to legalize marijuana.Once legal they all of sudden turn into 10 different compani...

Terry Pluto: U of A's new athletic director has the toughest job in town
It is a hard sell. The Students do not want to go to the football games and they do not want to pay for the program. They have a lot of student loan debt and t...

Akron considering the future of the B.F. Goodrich smokestacks
This BFGoodrich alumna says, "Thank you, Dave Lieberth!"

State creates panel to look at Ohio charter school sponsors
It is more than disturbing that charter schools, which seemed like a good idea years ago, have begun to cripple public school education.

DEVO mural in Akron is now on display downtown
The installation is not at the former site of Chili Dog Mac. CDM was one block north on the other side of Main St.

New report shows growth in white collar jobs for Northeast Ohio
Unfortunately, there are fewer jobs in comparison to the number of professionals applying for them. I have been had a full time job since June 2012. In order to...

Advocacy group: Ohio could lead in clean energy
Ohio Legislators, You are supposed to be our leaders but you're not taking us where we want to go - where we need to go!

Campaign for and against marijuana legalization begins
Cannabis legalization needs to happen as soon as possible! But not if it gives monopolies to a selected few to grow and sell the herb. Responsible Ohio's mono...

Heinen's in downtown Cleveland sponsors a contest for food entrepreneurs
Love that this took place right here! What a way to support local. Thank you Heinens! Love this quote, as a small local biz, I agree, it's big!! "To be a small...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University