The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 12, 2014

Cleveland celebrates LeBron’s return

CLEVELAND — Cleveland is as hot as one of the blast furnaces ablaze down along the Cuyahoga River.

First there was the arrival of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel in May’s NFL draft. On Tuesday, the national Republican Party handed Cleveland its 2016 national convention and hundreds of millions of dollars’ in business.

And on Friday the city landed what many would call the biggest prize of all — the return of its prodigal son. Four-time NBA MVP and Akron native LeBron James decided to leave glamorous Miami for gritty Cleveland.

Nobody knows what will be next in the pantheon of really good news, but whatever it is, formerly downtrodden Clevelanders would surely embrace it. When you’ve had — and still have — as many problems as Cleveland, you take what you can get.

When word got out that James was bringing his considerable talents back to Cleveland, cheers and bleating car horns could be heard echoing off buildings downtown. People stared at their cell phones with expressions of glee and, perhaps, slight disbelief that it was true, King James really was headed home.

The ultimate hope among many sports fans is that James can quench the inexhaustible thirst Cleveland fans have for a championship after a drought of 50 years. It was in 1964 that all-world running back Jim Brown and quarterback Frank Ryan carried the Browns to the city’s last championship.

“It’s surreal,” said a smiling Larry Boothe, 25, who had just purchased a celebratory six-pack. “I never thought it would be a reality.”

Lynn Taylor, 51, lovingly mopped ribs, barbecue and Polish boys — the city’s signature kielbasa sandwich — with her secret sauce outside her Hough Avenue deli on the east side. She said the GOP convention and James would help bring much-needed cash into the city, although she called James a drama queen for the way he left back in 2010. But she’ll take him back.

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