In sports, everyone is a winner-some people just win better than others. Like the fine people of Akron, Ohio, who received thanks from LeBron James in a full-page newspaper ad that didn't happen to mention Cleveland or the Cavaliers.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas took out an ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday, and while we took him to task for some lines he probably shouldn't have written, the heat's going to be on LeBron for the lines he didn't.
"Thanks to the people in Cleveland."
"Thanks to Cavaliers fans."
"My fans in Ohio."
Any of those would have been totally cool. But not a single word about Cleveland, or the Cavs, where he spent seven years of his life receiving nothing but worship.
To My Family, Friends and Fans in Akron:
For all my life, I have lived in Akron — and for that, I am truly a lucky man.
It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.
Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It's where I started, and it's where I will always come back to.
You can be sure that I will continue to do everything I can for this city, which is so important to my family and me. Thank you for your love and support. You mean everything to me.
You know who's not particularly broken up about you moving away? Most of the residents of Akron. And the ones that are upset are Cavs fans. Would it have killed him to write the word "Cleveland?" Or include a photo of him in a Cavs jersey?
We get it. He feels like management treated him unfairly, and the fan base hasn't been understanding of his decision. So, as a heartfelt gesture, he wasn't about to ignore that and thank them. But no one believes that this ad is a heartfelt gesture, or that James even wrote it himself.
It's just business to not burn any bridges, and maybe preserve a few fans back home to buy your sneakers. As Matt Moore of CBS Sports nailed it this morning, taking out this ad — and intentionally snubbing Cleveland — is just bad business.
And it's not out of line with anything else that's gone down in the summer of LeBron.