At this point, we all know that LeBron James is coming back to the Cleveland Cavaliers; leaving most of America in a feeling of sentiment and utter joy. There have been numerous stories about the affect it’s going to have on the industries in Northeast Ohio and the surrounding areas, that his mere presence causes their economies valuation to be drastically inflated; in some cases it’s estimated that him being back there will bring in an extra 500 million dollars annually. What hasn’t really been touched on is the affect it will have on Central Ohio and the influence his presence in Ohio as a whole can bring.
If you thought that he’s just making Cleveland more money, that Northeast Ohio is the only place in the heartland benefiting from The King being back; you’d be so very wrong. LeBron is going to make Ohio a destination state, something that we’ve never really been before, unless of course you’re a film crew looking for some tax breaks or you’re wanting to wear a Reds uniform…when they’re actually doing well. Add in a guy like Johnny Manziel –in the same town no less– and you’ve got money pouring out of the Lake Erie coastline, pouring down into the rest of the state. The place that I think most benefits from these two money making machines –primarily the one wearing a shining NBA crown– other than Cleveland of course? Columbus.
There is a Scarlet & Gray banner that resides in the capital, one that is recognizable around the entire country, one that boasts itself as THE Ohio State University. While the connections aren’t obvious, beyond the school displaying an honorary locker for King James; there are plenty of reasons why he’s going to influence a lot of athletes to decide they want to become a Buckeye.
OSU is one of the most popular and well known and highest attended collegiate schools in the country. Their graduating classes are tops in the US in sheer numbers almost every year, not to mention the amount of college athletes that go into the pro’s straight out of Central Ohio. There was an NFL Hall Of Famer that gave a very touching speech last year, one Cris Carter, who attended The Ohio State as a star studded wide-receiver and made an even bigger name for himself as a Minnesota Viking. He talked up the school, it’s academics, the sports program, the community, and the love he has for the state; both as a professional athlete that solidified himself as someone to watch and as an Ohio native. Now we have LeBron, who wrote an incredibly touching article, declaring that he was coming back Home, because there’s no where he would rather be.
While not all or even most great talents come from Ohio, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t grow to love a place that the likes of Cris Carter and LeBron so deeply cherish. Coming here means they have the opportunity to carry on a legacy of excellence at OSU, especially on the football side of things. If you don’t think that players around the country and heck, the entire world, aren’t looking at Ohio with a little more glimmer in their eye, then I think you’d be crazy. You have those two Ohio natives that proudly call the state home, then you’ve got Johnny Manziel who’s outright declared his excitement for being in Cleveland –rouse or not, he’s still said it.– It’s almost impossible to see that level of talent express their gratitude for being here and not be inspired to share in the feeling.
LeBron is back in Ohio, but his influence isn’t solely locked inside Northeast Ohio; no, he’s going to bring in a wealth of talent to the state as a whole, both professional and –surprising to some– collegiate as well. When all is said and done, there are going to be plenty of other stellar athletes that go to OSU because LeBron has said it’s the only college he would have ever considered, were he planning on attending; but there are also going to be dozens –or more– that come through the state’s capital because of how much he’s made Ohio a place worth coming to.
The thing I’m most excited to see? Those who were born here or even elsewhere, mentioning that LeBron inspired them to consider and ultimately attend OSU in their Hall Of Fame acceptance speeches and saying the same thing that Cris Carter said in his HOF speech, “Buckeye. Born and bred. HOF’er. Even after I’m dead.”
Image courtesy of: Twitter.com/BTNSean
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