Rub­ber patch: Cava­liers to wear Goodyear logo on jer­seys

South Florida Times - - SPORTS -

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.”

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