Nike’s massive LeBron billboard comes down

While life without James begins for Cleveland, the memories remain

Daryl Ruiter
July 03, 2018 - 2:20 pm
Workers remove Nike's 10-story tall LeBron James mural in downtown Cleveland on July 3, 2018.

Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Piece by piece, the 10-story tall LeBron James Nike mural came down.

Workers began removing it Tuesday morning from the side of Sherwin Williams’ downtown headquarters and by evening it was gone.

Like James, already a memory.

Fans trickled by the Ontario street sidewalks to take one last picture, a somber reminder that the greatest era in Cavaliers, check that – Cleveland sports history, has closed.

Across the street trucks, jackhammers and construction workers could be heard banging away as they continued demolition of the façade of Quicken Loans Arena with the $140 million transformation of the building that opened in 1994 kicking into high gear.

It was a symbolic.

Out with the old, to make way for the new.

Inside the Cavaliers team shop another slow stream of fans stopped by to pick up discounted LeBron James merchandise that had been gathered on racks and placed in the middle of the store. Eerily, the televisions that are mounted above were tuned to ESPN and the constant coverage of James’ move to the Lakers.

Walking around downtown Cleveland Tuesday morning the loss of James could be felt among the passersby, but the disappointment was also accompanied by gratitude and appreciation.

And it should.

The night of June 19, 2016 will be forever etched in the hearts and memories every Clevelander and Cavaliers fan across the country.

The hugs, high fives and tears of joy that flowed deep into the wee hours of the morning, pausing for a few hours until James and the Cavs touched down at Hopkins airport, stepped off the plane and raised the Larry O’Brien Trophy high in the sky, will never be forgotten.

Then came the parade and 1.3 million that packed the streets so tightly the cars and floats could barely get through.

The story of ‘The Comeback’ and where we were and what we witnessed will be passed down for generations to come just as the stories of the Browns’ dominance and 8 championships from 1946-1964 and the Indians’ reign from 1995-2001 are still told as if they just happened yesterday.

The memories of 4 consecutive conference championships and trips to the NBA Finals will never be forgotten, nor should they.

The banners in the rafters of The Q will remain, each of them with their own unique story to be told, and with James as the centerpiece.

James is gone, but the legacy and memories he’s left behind for us to celebrate for generations remain.