LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat answers questions as he celebrates after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida.
Photographer: (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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AKRON, Ohio - Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic says he believes Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert should have spent more money to convince LeBron James to stay and build a championship in northeast Ohio.
One day after James won his second consecutive NBA title for the Miami Heat, Plusquellic spoke candidly from his conference room about "The Decision" made by James in 2010.
"Dan Gilbert can be mad at me if he wants to be, but I wish Dan Gilbert would have spent some of his money and gone out and bought a couple of all-stars and then said to LeBron, 'Hey, I'm giving you a team that you can win a championship here.' Instead, everybody waited, held their cards close to the vest and said, 'OK, LeBron please sign.'"
Plusquellic admits he's not sure if that would have changed James's decision, but now he's now encouraging Gilbert to spend more cash on the Cavs future.
"I think he had more than enough (money) before we gave him all the gambling interest in northeast Ohio, so I think right now, he has more than enough money to be able to do something to bring a championship back to Cleveland," Plusquellic said.
Shortly after Miami beat San Antonio in Game 7, James was named the MVP and he quickly mentioned his hometown, but also had a message for his detractors.
"I'm LeBron James, from Akron, Ohio, from the inner-city. I'm not even supposed to be here. That's enough. Every night, I walk into the locker room, I see a No. 6 with James on the back. I'm blessed. So what everybody says about me off the court, don't matter. I ain't got no worries," James said as confetti fell around him.
Love him or loathe him, James' legacy grew larger after Thursday night's win.
In the Akron area, where James is viewed much more favorably than in Cleveland, folks wondered if basketball's best player could return to Cleveland after he fulfills the last year of his contract.
"I know a lot of people are still harboring those harsh feelings. Me personally, I think if he comes back, he was kind of true to his word at that point. No harm, no foul then," said Logan Mirka, 18, of Wadsworth.
James recently donated $1 million to renovate the gymnasium at his alma mater, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. Construction is expected to be completed by Oct. 1 and will named "LeBron James Arena."
Mike Ochsenhirt, construction manager for the project, said he wasn't surprised when James talked about Akron after winning the title.
"LeBron is an alumni of this school, and basically, he's a true, honorable citizen of the city of Akron... He has always helped everybody around Akron, helping kids in need and school programs. He's very, very active in this community," Ochsenhirt said.
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