Rubber patch: Cavaliers to wear Goodyear logo on jerseys
understanding why they're doing it and me, I kind of got the best of both worlds - I got to play in a jersey without it and I guess I'll be one of the first ones to play with it. So, it's part of it now and we'll move from there.”
As the agreement was being announced inside Quicken Loans Arena, Goodyear's unmistakable blimp circled the building and downtown on a spectacular spring day. Already a staple at major sporting events, the blimp - with the company name emblazoned across its side - will now have an even larger presence in Cleveland.
“Every Akron kid grew up seeing the Wingfoot in the sky on the blimp and feeling pride in our community,” James said. “There is something special for me personally about having that logo on the Cavs uniform. Goodyear is also very supportive of the LeBron James Family Foundation. I can't imagine a better situation with our new Cavs jersey than bringing together Nike and Goodyear, two companies that mean a lot to me and my family.”
Also, as part of the arrangement, the Cavaliers and Goodyear are donating $1 million to educational programs in Cleveland and Akron public schools.
The partnership had deeper meaning for Cavs general manager David Griffin. His mother is from Akron and his grandfather worked for 30 years with Goodyear Aerospace.
“The ashtray on our table was a wing foot,'' he said.“In my family, if you were truly successful you were blimp-worthy.”
Kramer said part of the appeal of this sponsorship was the chance to connect with an international audience. Goodyear is growing its brand in China, where James is nearly as popular as he is in the United States.
Although best known for tires, Goodyear has some deep basketball roots.
In the 1930s, Goodyear was a founding member of the National Basketball League, a precursor to the NBA. The Goodyear Wingfoots won the first NBL title in 1937 and the AAU National Championship in 1964 with a team that featured Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.
Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue is happy the Cavs will be rolling with Goodyear, but he has no plans to ride in the company's blimp.
“No sir,” he said.“I'm too scared of that.”