Lawmakers join NBA teams in lobbying for free-agent star LeBron James

Lawmakers join NBA teams in lobbying for free-agent star LeBron James

Politicians across the country are trying to lure NBA superstar LeBron James to their hometowns.

In Ohio, where James has played for the past six years for the Cleveland Cavaliers, anxieties are running high.


Gov. Ted Strickland and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSunday shows - Trump's reemergence, COVID-19 vaccines and variants dominate Brown vows Democrats will 'find a way' to raise minimum wage Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues MORE, both Democrats, teamed up with local celebrities and politicians to record a version of “We Are the World” called “Please Stay LeBron.”

The song’s lyrics are a hardly subtle: “Please stay LeBron, we really need you, no bigger market’s gonna love half as much as we do.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stars in a “C’mon LeBron” Internet campaign in which he urges James to “write the next chapter in NYC basketball history” by joining the New York Knicks.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said he thinks New York is the logical choice for James.

“LeBron is a major talent so I assume he wants to go to the only true major league city,” Weiner said in a statement to The Hill.

The stakes aren’t small. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), who says Chicago fans are ready to welcome James with open arms if he joins the Bulls, expects LeBron would be bigger business for Chicago than last year’s $787 billion stimulus.

“Bring on LeBron!” Roskam told The Hill. “Plus, the money he brings to Chicagoland will almost certainly create more jobs than the stimulus package ever did.”

Roskam might be on to something.

John Skorburg, an economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recently told The Cleveland Plain Dealer that James’ net worth to the northeast Ohio region could be almost $300 million, and would be even more valuable in cities with larger populations like Chicago or New York.

The campaign to sign the NBA’s biggest superstar began on July 1, when he officially became a free agent.

James has said that Cleveland has an “edge,” but is fielding offers from several teams, including the New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCPAC, all-in for Trump, is not what it used to be Americans have decided to give professionals a chance Artist behind golden Trump statue at CPAC says he made it in Mexico MORE’s favorite, the Chicago Bulls.

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Senate confirms Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador The Memo: Biden bets big on immigration MORE (D-N.J.) wrote the following on Twitter on Thursday: “Hoping to see LeBron in Nets uni playing in Newark. Sold-out games, winning team & media buzz would have huge econ impact on the community.”

Obama has weighed in, but sent mixed signals as to where he’d like to see LeBron playing next year.

Obama told sports broadcaster Marv Albert in May that he could see James “fitting in pretty well” in his hometown of Chicago, but later told Larry King that “it would be a wonderful thing” if James stayed in Cleveland.

The effort to keep James in Cleveland has even worked its way into Strickland’s re-election campaign against former Rep. John Kasich.

Kasich, a Republican, poked fun at the Strickland music video and told Alan Colmes on FOX Radio Network that he’s more concerned with the nearly half-million unemployed Ohioans than with what team James plays for next year.

“I’m not singing in any chorus for LeBron James,” Kasich said.

In response to Kasich’s comments, the Ohio Democratic Party launched a website, “Ohioans against LeBron,” featuring Kasich as “founder and president.”

Perhaps Strickland, Brown, and the rest of Cavalier nation can take comfort in the words of Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden offers support to union organizing efforts Senate Democrats nix 'Plan B' on minimum wage hike Kavanaugh dismays conservatives by dodging pro-Trump election lawsuits MORE.

The vice president was in Cleveland on Wednesday campaigning on behalf of Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio). Biden told the audience at a fundraiser that James wasn’t going anywhere.

“LeBron James is coming back, and Lee is going to Washington,” Biden said.