Sportress of Blogitude

Akron woman posts #ThisIsHome billboard to woo LeBron James (pic)

The current trend among NBA fans hoping LeBron James joins their team should he become a free agent this summer is to erect billboards in a presumably ineffective bid to recruit the superstar. But one Akron woman is making a billboard pitch to keep the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar in Ohio.

Alison McIntyre Baranek, a realtor in James’ hometown, has funded a billboard in the area in which the case is made that as far as the Ohio icon is concerned, #ThisIsHome.

“It just seems right to reach out to him and let him know we want him to stay, to show him some hometown love,” Baranek told “He does so much for our community, especially the kids. Akron is so much better with him here.”

Baranek chose the locations of the two billboards to effectuate the highest visibility. Baranek plans to change the billboard, which she designed herself, every few days.

“It was expensive,” Baranek said. “I think it’s worth the investment to get the word out to LeBron that his hometown loves him.”

Baranek obviously deserves much credit for putting up the funds for the billboard, not to mention the overall concept.

The same goes previous billboard pitches from Portland Trail Blazers fans, a 76ers-backing, Philly-based business and a longtime Los Angeles Lakers season-ticket holder, among others. Heck, even a New Zealand-based pro basketball team got in on the action. However, despite all their best efforts, it may be all for naught.

James — who is widely expected to hit free agency after the season by exercising the player option in his current contract — has sated he won’t to allow such efforts to sway his ultimate decision as the billboard recruitment craze escalated.

That is unlikely to discourage Baranek, however.

“I want to corral the whole community to get behind ‘#ThisIsHome,'” Baranek said. “Hopefully people will embrace that and use it. This is LeBron’s home. We want him to stay.”