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Friday, September 3, 2010

Miami Doesn't Want Clevelanders' Donated LeBron Jerseys

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Break Up With LeBron, the group behind the donation program.
  • Break Up With LeBron, the group behind the donation program.

When the sparks of anger were flying fast and hot in the wake of LeBron's departure to South Beach, many a LeBron jersey in Cleveland went up in flames.

The cathartic process of torching the King's gear made some fans feel better, but others thought it was a tad wasteful to burn perfectly good clothing that someone could wear.

Break Up With LeBron was part of the latter group and did more than just encourage fans to donate their now useless James jerseys: They organized a collection drive for Clevelanders who wanted to dump their gear and promised to deliver the rags to homeless shelters in Miami.

The cause was covered by the AP, ESPN, and others.

Stung by the NBA superstar's decision to leave Cleveland and play for Miami, Cavaliers fans have been unloading their unwanted No. 23 jerseys, T-shirts and other clothing items bearing James' name at locations around the city. Organizers are shipping the discarded James gear to homeless shelters in South Florida.

"It's like any breakup," said Beau Miller, who began the campaign with three friends. "You want to give all your stuff back."

For the past week, Cleveland fans have been dropping off their LeBron-related items at Yours Truly Restaurants in Northeast Ohio. Miller said he and his friends wanted to turn a negative situation into a positive and that the response has been "extraordinary."

All good, right?

Not so fast.

Turns out Miami officials have concerns about the plan and have halted the donations.

As with most things, it's about politics.

The Broward/Palm Beach New Times reports:

"It's on hold right now," says Rita Clark of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless. "There's a lot of politics around this."

The Coalition had been in talks with the Cleveland do-gooders, but ran into some resistance here in South Florida. Apparently, a marketing plan based on the concept of, Here — take a bunch of stuff we hate! wasn't particularly appealing. Clark says she heard Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado was opposed to the donation plan.

"It seemed very well-intentioned, but it's not gonna happen right away," Clark says. "I'm trying to help them be better received here in Miami."

You would think Miami would be used to taking things from Cleveland, but I guess not.

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