Ted Strickland was the governor of Ohio when LeBron James made the Decision to leave Cleveland for Miami. At the time, Strickland was in a pitched battle for re-election. He lost that race; he now runs the Center for American Progress Action Fund. I talked to Strickland yesterday for a story (coming shortly), and toward the end I asked whether he wanted LeBron back in Cleveland.
"He’s obviously an exceptional player," Strickland said. "I know there was a lot of criticism when he left Cleveland, but he was a kid, really. I think Ohio ought to be proud that he came from us and still has remained active with his hometown."
Strickland told a story of his own brush with James, which happened seven years ago. Nike was displaying a 10-story banner of the story, stoking complaints from the usual NIMBYs. The governor was asked to take a stand on the display.
"I said, 'That’s not advertising, it’s art, and it’s staying,' " Strickland remembered. "I got this nice note from LeBron, thanking me for doing that. But I would have done it anyway."