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By Alexandra Zaslow
Many of Cleveland’s residents credit LeBron James for the city’s comeback.
“The day he left [for the Miami Heat in 2010], I think, was one of the saddest and ugliest days in Cleveland sports and just in Cleveland in general,” Jim Donovan, WKYC anchor and sports director, told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric while she was visiting Cleveland as part of her “Cities Rising” series.
The Cleveland native announced his return in 2014 and, just two years later, led the Cavaliers to the NBA championship.
“I thought everybody walked a little taller that next day and for really the whole summer,” Donovan said.
It had been 52 years since Cleveland had won a championship in any of the major sports, and it made the city’s residents prouder than ever to say where they were from.
The Cavaliers are helping the city in other ways too, such as the deal they recently made to refurbish 40 basketball courts throughout the city’s schools and recreation centers, helping 130,000 kids.
Len Komoroski, the Cavaliers’ CEO, says LeBron is a role model to other athletes and is the inspiration behind their “giving back to the community, reinvesting in the city and helping lift kids.”
Most Cleveland residents will tell you that LeBron’s return from Miami put a great deal of pride back into the city that raised him.
“If the city is rising, and I think it is, he’s a big reason why,” Donovan said.