Sportress of Blogitude

Ohio amusement park won’t rename a ride ‘King James’ after LeBron James after all


In a story that has “NBA offseason doldrums” written all over it, reports indicate that an Ohio amusement park has decided against renaming a ride “King James” after it offered to do so should LeBron James return and play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cedar Point Amusement Park, based in Sandusky, Ohio, and a place apparently frequented by James as a youth according to an AP report, revealed that it would not rename one of its roller coasters after the home state superstar, instead announcing that it has formed a partnership with LeBron’s charity.

The announcement in its entirety (via NewsNet 5 Cleveland):

Cedar Point Makes Good on Its Promise and Establishes Long-Term Partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation

It’s time to make good on a promise – and it’s bigger and better than expected.

Earlier this summer, the park sent out a now-famous tweet stating that it would rename one of its coasters “King James” if LeBron James returned to Ohio. That outcome is now known. But the “ball” was back in the park’s court.

Today, Cedar Point announces a joint decision with the LeBron James Family Foundation on a multi-year partnership which includes benefits that go far beyond renaming a coaster [sic]

The highlight of this new partnership will take place next summer when Cedar Point hosts all of the kids who are actively involved in the foundation’s “Wheels for Education” program and Akron I PROMISE Network for a day of fun with their families in the program’s annual “I PROMISE Family Reunion” event. Additionally, next spring, Cedar Point will hold a first ride auction with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the LeBron James Family Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have formed this partnership with LeBron and his foundation,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager for Cedar Point. “It’s great when two world-class organizations can come together for the benefit of kids, their education and their families.”

Based in LeBron’s hometown of Akron, the LeBron James Family Foundation’s mission is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular educational initiatives.  In 2011, in partnership with the Akron Public Schools, the Foundation began working on the high school dropout crisis facing the Akron community and launched the “Wheels for Education” program. Now serving nearly 800 Akron-area students, this groundbreaking initiative targets third graders and provides them with the programs, support and mentors they need for success in school. 

“The Foundation is extremely excited about this new partnership because it’s a long-term commitment that will have benefits for our kids and their families for years to come,” said Michele Campbell, Executive Director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “One of the fundamental goals of the Wheels for Education program and the Akron I PROMISE Network is to provide our students with opportunities and experiences they might not otherwise have access to, and this partnership with Cedar Point does exactly that.”

Once Wheels for Education students reach middle school, they graduate into the Foundation’s Akron I PROMISE Network, where they will continue to receive academic support and interventions until graduation. The first class of Wheels for Education students will graduate in 2021.

It’s hard to argue with the assertion that this partnership between the amusement park and James’ charity organization is a far more worthwhile endeavor that will make a much bigger difference in the lives of kids less fortunate. But why not do both? Why not rename a ride “King James” and engage in a charitable partnership?

The park boasts 15 pretty nifty-looking roller coasters. How cool would it have been to change one of the names to “King James”? Is there that much red tape involved with renaming an amusement park ride? It’s not like the park was intending to rename the “Tilt-A-Whirl” or anything. Which is a good thing, as everyone knows how uncooperative the Tiltawhirl family can be with these kind of issues.

Seriously, you didn’t know that the “Tilt-A-Whirl’ was created by renowned ride inventor Ebenezer Tiltawhirl?*

Come on, man.

(*not actually true)