AKRON – Those looking for an outpouring of hate toward LeBron James should look elsewhere.
James was in town for his annual “King for Kids Bikeathon” on Saturday morning in downtown Akron. Even though there’s still much hostility toward James in many parts of Northeast Ohio, you won’t find it in Akron.
He’s still very beloved in his hometown considering his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers last month.
James, 25, thanked the city of Cleveland in his pre-event press conference, something he forgot to do when he paid for a full-page ad in the Akron Beacon Journal last week.
“Thanks to the city of Cleveland, my fans in Cleveland and my fans in Northeast Ohio,” James said. “I want to say thank you for the last seven years and the years in the future. I want to thank Northeast Ohio for all the great years I’ve had.”
There was no additional security needed on Saturday. One observer said, “This isn’t Cleveland.”
About 400 bicycles were given away to Akron youth for the one-mile ride. Of course, James took part in the event, while his mother, Gloria, was the official starter.
“This is the most precious day of the whole year,” James said. “I’m able to give back to the city I grew up in, the city I love and will always give back to.
“The most important thing to me is these kids you see on the bikes. We know these are our future. We want to continue to empower kids and encourage them to have a bright future.”
James said those kids might be the next famous person.
“We never know, the next Barack Obama might be sitting there on a bike, or the next LeBron James or Oprah Winfrey,” he said. “When you find that talent you have, go for it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”
Akron mayor Donald L. Plusquellic acknowledged Akron city council president Marco Sommerville for passing a resolution thanking James for ”his extraordinary basketball accomplishments and his continuing involvement in the Akron community.”
Sommerville thought it was necessary because some had the impression that Akron no longer supported James. As evidenced by Saturday’s actions, that’s anything but the case. Source
What was the reaction of Akron leading up to the Bike A Thon… Lebron’s first public appearance in Akron since “The Decision.”