LeBron James has faced double teams before, but nothing like this.
Two 12-year-old twins from the Bronx, Jason and Corey Grant, have started a grassroots campaign to woo LeBron to sign with their beloved New York Knicks when the NBA superstar officially becomes a free agent on July 1.
“We want him to come here so we can start winning. We want New York to go to the Finals,” said Jason in a recent article in the New York Daily News.
With the help of their parents, friends and other people in their community, the Grants and their “#NY<3LEBRON” movement—as it is being called—has grown like wildfire thanks to a Facebook fan page and the initiative’s official site, nyheartlebron.com.
On the main site, visitors can push a button shaped like a basketball and become part of a rapidly growing number of people who have either pushed the button or gone on Twitter and used the hashtag “#NY<3LEBRON” in a tweet. So far, more than one million people have either pressed the collective button or tweeted as of this posting.
Additional custom-built “LeBron Buttons” that can be pushed to register a vote have been set up at various places throughout New York City. The website lists 10 locations, one of which is it at Michael Jordan’s The Steak House (sorry Chicago fans). As of Wednesday, the restaurant’s button had been pushed 6,187 times.
“We keep pushing it every time we walk by and the customers do too,” one employee said. “We encourage them.”
When it comes to landing The King, New Yorkers have been as subtle in their recruitment of James as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade going through a library. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has gone on the record several times—including his weekly radio show—and made open sales pitches to the star player.
The Knicks, who cannot actually have any communication with James until the free agency period begins, have already assembled a gallery of New York-based celebrities to reach to out to LeBron, including Spike Lee, Donald Trump, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Boomer Esiason and Tracy Morgan.
If you live in the New York area or are a Knicks fan, have you pushed the button? Do you think this campaign will work?
Have you heard of similar fans of the teams courting LeBron (Cavaliers, Bulls, Nets, Clippers, etc.) starting similar movements? If so, let us know.