He’s back! As you may have heard, on July 11th, LeBron James announced his return to his home state to play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This predictably set off waves of celebration throughout Ohio. James’ return has made a huge impact on Cleveland because no professional sports team has won a title since the Browns in 1964. But besides the obvious sports benefits, James’ return also provides a boost for Cleveland and the state in many other ways.
James has described his relationship with his hometown and state as, “bigger than basketball”, which may explain Ohio’s infatuation with the basketball star. Even after James spurned the Cavaliers to chase titles four years ago, the city couldn’t stay angry with him for long. As soon as James neared free agency, the city opened its arms back up and welcomed their star back home. The excitement was palpable in Cleveland. Many of the bars around Quicken Loans Arena that closed following James’ departure have recently reopened. James’ return is also expected to generate a whopping $215 million annually for Cleveland’s economy. That coupled with the arrival of the Republican National Convention in 2016 has Cleveland, and Ohio, on the upswing.
While his arrival was viewed as a godsend for Cleveland basketball, James acknowledges that it will take some time to get used to his new teammates. The Cavaliers have started a dismal 1-3, a poor start for a team with championship aspirations. It’s been clear that James has had a difficult time adjusting, committing a career high 4.5 turnovers per game through four games. But Cleveland’s high standards are not dropping, meaning that James and company are going to have to make steady improvements in the coming weeks.
Written by Tristan Rhee’ 17