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Akron still has love for LeBron

Courtesy of the Akron Beacon Journal:

Akron residents may not be ready to forgive LeBron James for going to Miami, but city council has.

Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday night thanking James for ''his extraordinary basketball accomplishments and his continuing involvement in the Akron community.''

Council President Marco Sommerville said he thought the gesture was important because some have the impression that Akron no longer supports James.

''No matter what his decision was, he's still from Akron, Ohio,'' he said. ''He's a hometown person who we need to support.''

Sommerville said he was disturbed by a recent Akron Aeros promotion that offered free tickets in exchange for gently used James apparel and spoke to the team's marketing representative about his concern.

''Hopefully, he will continue to do things for Akron as he continues on his quest to be great,'' he said.

Some members of council, which had a lengthy agenda Monday that included several controversial items, were somewhat leery of the resolution — knowing that many in the community are still bruised by James' decision.

Three members of the LeBron James Grandmothers Fan Club, wearing their burgundy shirts with gold crowns on them, spoke in support of the resolution.

''He's still our grandson,'' said Edna Martin, who thinks James has been a good role model.

The resolution detailed James' professional accomplishments at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron and with the Cleveland Cavaliers and his contributions to the city, including the King for Kids Bikeathon, the LeBron James Skills Academy and the LeBron James Shooting Stars Classic.

Akron is in talks with the LeBron James Family Foundation about this year's bikeathon, which is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth said James will — as has been the tradition — hand out 300 free bikes to local youths, who will then take them for a one-mile spin. Lieberth said other details of the event still are being decided.

A copy of council's resolution will be sent to James at his home in Bath Township.

When council voted on the resolution, a man in the audience yelled out, ''Nay!''


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