Commentary: How will the city of Cleveland fare without LeBron James?

Commentary: How will the city of  Cleveland fare without LeBron James?
August 02
09:53 2018

By James Ewers Jr.

Recently LeBron James signed a contract to play next season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers after leading them to an NBA championship in 2016.

When free agency started three weeks ago, I thought for a minute that LeBron would resign with the Cavaliers. I was wrong. It is a widely held belief that LeBron wants to experience another type of bright lights after his career in basketball is over. He wants the bright lights and allure of Hollywood.

The silver screen has already captured his attention, so he will make a smooth transition post basketball. Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations with the Lakers, didn’t have to do a big selling job to LeBron about coming to California. As we know, the Magic man is a part of the Hollywood scene.

The King can use Magic Johnson or the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) as mentors in his show business ventures. Both have been extremely successful in the movie business industry. The Rock has been successful in front of it and Magic has been successful behind it.

Rich Paul, James’s agent, said his signing was a basketball decision. Well, that is a point that can be challenged. Yes, I believe James wanted to play a role in bringing showtime back to LA. In recent memory, the Lakers have been quite pedestrian and haven’t been a factor in the Western Division.

LeBron has two houses in LA and obviously wants to settle there. Any fan who remotely keeps up with basketball can see it. I think the question on the floor is how much longer does he play basketball before going into his movie career? Another question bouncing around on the floor is whether he will ever win another championship? My kneejerk response is no! LeBron will be playing with a group of young but talented men this year. The Western Division simply has too much talent. Despite this outlook, we will just have to wait and see. Don’t forget, Kawhi Leonard is lurking in the background.

Now that LeBron has left Cleveland for the City of Angels, what about the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland? First, the Cavaliers were riding in the pace car, to use a racing term, but now they have hit the rail, and  spun out. It will be a while before Cleveland contends for another title. An Eastern Division championship seems to be but a distant dream. I am not sure that Kevin Love can carry the team even with JR Smith and Larry Nance Jr. Teams like Toronto and Boston are licking their chops saying it’s their turn now. Maybe they are right.

Are you worried about the city of Cleveland like I am? Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and until a few weeks ago also had LeBron. One could argue who had more economic impact, LeBron or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It is my opinion that LeBron James brought in more fame and finance. His economic impact was in the millions of dollars. Restaurants, hotels and the Chamber of Commerce all benefitted from LeBron’s celebrity.

LeBron James will always be associated with the cities of Cleveland and Akron. LeBron could be a future politician in the state of Ohio. It could happen!

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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