LeBron James: ‘It took a kid from Akron’ to deliver title to Cleveland
LeBron James may have been left hoarse from his passionate speech in front of an estimated 1.3 million Cavaliers fans on Wednesday in downtown Cleveland, but that didn’t stop his words from being especially resonant during a celebration Thursday in his hometown of Akron.
24,000 fans packed inside and around an Akron outdoor concert venue celebrated their native son delivering the region its first major sports title in 52 years.
With a 60-foot-long banner showing James holding the Larry O’Brien trophy with the words “I’m home” draped on a building behind the stage, an emotional James spoke for four minutes before uttering perhaps his most sentimental comment since delivering on his promise to bring an NBA championship to Northeast Ohio.
“It was 50-plus years that the Cleveland drought was going on,” James said. “Cleveland’s last championship was 50-some-odd years ago,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Guess what? It took a kid from Akron to end it. Thank you.”
At that point, James dropped the microphone and walked offstage.
James earlier in his speech nostalgically recalled a celebration in Akron shortly after he announced he was returning to play for the Cavaliers. On both occasions — that party two years ago and Wednesday’s championship celebration — the song “Coming home” by Skylar Grey was played.
And before his “kid from Akron” closing, James paid tribute to those who share the same hometown and thanked them for all the support.
“I promised when I came back two years ago I had one mission from a basketball standpoint,” James said. “I had one mission and my one mission was to bring a championship back to Ohio, back to Cleveland and back to Akron and look up there, it’s right there!
“There’s no way I could accomplish such a feat like we just had this past Sunday without the support from all of you guys. Akron is home. You all know that. Everywhere I go, everywhere I go I preach Akron. I love each and every one of you.”
Suffice to say for residents in Akron, the feeling is mutual. The classic line “Hometown boy makes good” probably has never been more apropos.