In his first public appearance since announcing his intention to play with the Miami Heat, LeBron James rode at a bike-a-thon in his hometown of Akron — and thanked his fans in Cleveland for their seven years of support.
“To the city of Cleveland, my fans in Cleveland, my fans in northeast Ohio,” James said. “I want to say thank you for the last seven years and the years that continue to go in the future.
“So I want to thank the city of Cleveland, also northeast Ohio, for all the great years that I’ve had,” he continued.
A lot has been made of the nature of James’ relationship with the city of Cleveland, and the conflict was only exacerbated last week when LeBron took out an advertisement in an Akron newspaper that thanked fans of his hometown but made no mention of Cleveland.
While it is said that something that comes late is better than something that never comes at all, the belated status of James’ gratitude seems to show that it’s something he was reluctant to proclaim — and that others encouraged him to do it.
Now that his thanks are on the table, though, the fans of Cleveland aren’t necessarily satisfied. In fact, most of them were more likely expecting something in the apologetic range from their former King, but it seems very unlikely that will ever happen.
I’ve made no secret of my support for James’ right to make the decision he did and that he owes nothing to a city that he was really only contractually committed to.
However, when fans start burning your jerseys and pronouncing death threats, maybe it is just best for you to swallow your pride and throw the dogs a bone. Maybe James could just say he’s remorseful (even if he’s not) and make a hefty donation to the city in some way.
That way, the only storyline when the Heat come to the Quicken Loans Arena will be the beatdown that they put on the Cavaliers and not that James is being rushed to the hospital after being hit with a bullet.