And so it begins.
The rumblings and grumblings over whether Akron’s LeBron James will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers after this season have been simmering since the start of the season.
Even (gasp) Golden State has been speculated.
But a home remodeling business based in Chester, Pa., ratcheted things up Monday by putting up three billboards along Interstate 480 in Cuyahoga County pitching Philadelphia as a potential place for James to take his talents.
The billboards are strategically placed not far from the Cavs practice facility in Independence.
The number is no coincidence and is a takeoff on the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
The timing is no coincidence either as the Cavs face the 76ers in a nationally televised game on Thursday.
The Philadelphia team is not behind the plea but rather the owners of an East Coast remodeling firm, Power Home Remodeling Group.
The company’s co-CEO, Asher Raphael, said publicly that they are passionate about Philadelphia sports and just want to see the “best athletes” play in the city.
The first sign along the interstate has the number 23 on it with a crown on a court alongside of the numbers of 76ers Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Robert Covington.
The next billboard — just a really, really long 3-point shot down the road — says, “Complete The Process.”
The final parting shot is the hashtag “#PhillyWantsLeBron.”
If this all sounds familiar, it is.
Back in 2010, a group put up billboards in Chicago that said “Chicago Wants LeBron Unfinished Business.”
There were also billboards put up by fans in Cleveland, including one by James’ house in Bath, pleading for him to stay with the Cavs.
And after his stint in Miami, a radio host bought billboard space in Akron poking fun at his decision to return to the Cavs. The billboard featured a picture of a pair Miami Heat championship rings with the phrase, “You’re Welcome, LeBron,” signed “Sincerely, Miami.”
This followed a “Come Home LeBron” campaign by fans here that included a billboard by St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he graduated and played basketball before turning pro.
Craig Webb can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3547.
Philadelphia 76ers fans put up billboards on I-480 to woo LeBron James from Cleveland
And so it begins.