Stouffer Realty agent Alison McIntyre Baranek wanted to encourage Cavaliers player LeBron James to stay with the team in the offseason. She purchased a digital billboard on Interstate 77, north of Copley Road in Akron. She has purchased a billboard on state Route 18 in Sharon Township for four days, starting Wednesday.
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Akron has jumped on the LeBron James billboard bandwagon.
The cities of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland and others have used billboards in the last few months to openly campaign for Cavaliers small forward LeBron James to join their teams in free agency this summer.
Realtor Alison McIntyre Baranek, who works at Stouffer Realty in Fairlawn, joined the trend Thursday. She purchased a digital billboard on Interstate 77, near Copley Road in Akron, which reads, “There’s no place like home.”
A second billboard will go up for four days on state Route 18 in Sharon Township, starting Wednesday.
James, an Akron native who owns a home off Route 18 in Bath Township, had not yet seen the initial billboard when he met with reporters Friday morning prior to Cleveland’s game against the Phoenix Suns at Quicken Loans Arena.
“I know my hometown,” he said. “I already know there’s no place like Akron, that’s for sure.”
James, 33, said he was humbled by all the cities courting him, but vowed it wouldn’t interfere with his play the rest of this season.
“I will attack that after the season, as I’ve stated before,” he said of his impending free agency. “I’m only focused right now on how we can continue to improve our ballclub and put us in the right position to compete for a championship.
“I know what’s important. I know what keeps me focused. I know what the job is at hand.”
McIntyre Baranek said she urges James to stay with the Cavs.
“First of all, no one in Akron has done this yet (put up a billboard), and I think we need to show LeBron the hometown love,” she said in a statement. “Furthermore, as a lifelong member of the Akron community and a Cavs fan, I like what LeBron does as the leader of the hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. I love his hands-on leadership in our community, especially what he does for the kids of Akron and Cleveland.
“LeBron and I were both born in Akron and we have made the area our home. It feels better with LeBron here. Not only do I think that LeBron should stay on the team as a player, but ultimately, I think he would make a great owner of the hometown team (when his career is over).”
Three designs will be rotated on the billboard.
Contact reporter Rick Noland at (330) 721-4046 or email@example.com.
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