When LeBron James announced his return home to Northeast Ohio and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, residents took a step back and enjoyed the moment.
The On Tap Grille and Bar, on state Route 18 in Montville Township, saw a rush of customers who left work to take in the atmosphere circling James’ big decision.
Customers like Adam Geisler, of Medina.
“I had to leave work and grab a beer,” he said. “I cannot wait for his first introduction at The Q. It is going to give me chills.”
Northeast Ohioans have been dissecting every rumor and consuming every credible — and not so credible — report about James’ possible return to the Cavaliers.
James finally broke the silence with an essay released Friday by Sports Illustrated.
“My presence can make a difference in Miami, but I think it can mean more where I’m from,” James wrote. “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have,”
Stephen Hume of Medina echoed James’ sentiment.
“The reason I moved back home was because of that,” he said. “It is great for the community, for what we do and for who we are.”
But not everyone is thrilled with the return of The King.
“It is good that he is back,” Brunswick resident Cory Merrero said. “He is a good player, but I still think he is a traitor.
“He claimed that Cleveland was home, but he wanted to go where he knew that he could win the next championship. That still hits home.”
Eric Timura of Akron said he could “honestly care less.”
“I feel like there are lot better things in Cleveland that we could be spending money on other than LeBron,” he said.
James likely will sign a max contract with the Cavaliers in the coming weeks.
“There are amazing things in our future for sure,” Hume said. “In sports, the fans are bigger than the team and LeBron, he is bigger than the fans.”
“I think he is going to help us win some games, but I am still burnt up about four years ago.”
Brian Hilberg, Medina Ward 1 councilman
“Honestly I hope he does well, but he could have stayed
in Miami. Hopefully he has grown up a bit. The whole decision thing he did — I still won’t forgive him for that.”
David Frazier, Wooster
“I think it’s a great thing for the city of Cleveland. Why wouldn’t it be good? He is our local champ.”
Tony Rump, Medina
“I would still like him to make that extra commitment to the city of Cleveland that he didn’t do the first time around. He hurt a lot of us,”
Travis Collings, Medina
“I said, ‘Oh my God,’ then I broke down in tears.”
Mike Hogue, Medina
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.