After his heroic performance in the NBA Finals, it’s safe to say that nobody in the world is as beloved as LeBron James is in Cleveland right now.
So, naturally, Sherwin-Williams Co. will be removing the iconic, 10-story-tall banner of James from the side of its building on July 5, just in time for the Republican National Convention to come to town.
The banner has become a tourist destination in the city, and on Monday after the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 to complete a historic NBA finals comeback, the word “Champions” was added to the top of it.
In place of the banner, Sherwin-Williams will reportedly place a sign advertising the company and celebrating its 150 years in Cleveland. While the ad is supposed to commemorate the Cleveland flag and Sherwin-Williams paint colors, it also looks very similar to the flag of France, which detractors on social media have been quick to point out.
“The banner is a symbol of persistence, promise and pride in the Cleveland Cavaliers and Northeastern Ohio,” a Change.org petition urging Sherwin-Williams to leave the LeBron banner up reads. “Removing this banner will be a travesty to what we call Cleveland.”
Currently, the petition has almost 10,000 signatures.
But Sherwin-Williams claims there is no anti-LeBron conspiracy here. The company planned to take down the banner for the convention months ago, and is simply keeping with that schedule.
Cleveland.com reports that “instead of dismantling and recycling the 10-story-tall banner, Nike will resurrect LeBron James’ banner at an undisclosed date some time this fall, just before the Cavaliers start their next season.”
However, for Cleveland fans who are still reveling in their city’s first big championship in 52 years, the timing couldn’t be worse.
“Please do not take down the mural. The city has waited so long and is so proud. It is an example of what can happen when you believe,” Ohio resident Jessica McRitchie wrote on Change.org.
“LeBron James is a better role model than any of the upcoming candidates will ever be,” Akron resident Audra Giancarli added. “He is someone to look up to, someone we trust… who brings the city together rather than tearing us apart. Leave this banner as a symbol of CLEVELAND’s unity, perseverance, loyalty, and pride.”
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