Blazers fans exceed goal for LeBron James billboard in Portland
NBA.com Global on Mar 22, 2018 06:23 AM
Photo c/o @TRILLBLAZIN
NBA.com staff report
Fans in Portland will get their LeBron James billboard up somewhere in town. After raising more than enough funds to do that, the next question may be whether or not to put one up in Cleveland as well.
Similar types of billboards have been launched by other fans, first by a remodeling company in Philadelphia (which put the billboards installed in Cleveland) and also by an attorney in Los Angeles (who had them put up in L.A.). James can become a free agent this summer and many fan bases around the NBA are hoping their team takes a shot at signing him.
Late last week, the minds behind 'Trillblazin', a Trail Blazers-themed social media presence, started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise $2000 for a LeBron billboard in the city. According to The Oregonian's Tim Brown, the group quickly surpassed that goal after getting donations from around the country, as well as from local business and celebrities who hail from Portland (such as comedian Ian Karmel and the rock band Portugal The Man).
Trillblazin co-founders Ira Lafontaine and Keith Kunis are watching as their Go Fund Me campaign continues to skyrocket, opening the possibility of putting up transit ads in Portland or, perhaps, a sign in Cleveland near Quicken Loans Arena.
"They've helped bring this to a larger level than we expected," Co-founder of Trillblazin Ira Lafontaine told The Oregonian/OregonLive. "So combining that with everything the fans have done, we're trying to make this the best thing we possibly can."
"With $2000 we knew we could get a billboard somewhere around Portland," Lafontaine said. "But as we surpassed that number, we wondered if we could get enough to put something near the Moda Center."
The new goal of $2,750 was surpassed almost immediately and now the campaign has turned its focus to prime placement for the billboard and other ideas including possible transit ads, or things like sign holders in Cleveland outside of Quicken Loans Arena. As of Tuesday evening, the campaign has surpassed the new goal of $5,500 with nearly $7,000 pledged.
"The billboard is fully funded, so now we're looking at other options like doing a second billboard [in Cleveland]," Lafontaine said. "It's all based on the funding, and we haven't reached out to anyone in Cleveland yet, but we've also talked about doing some other fun things like targeted online ad campaigns around products LeBron likes and maybe getting into the back of his mind. We want to figure out how to get the most bang for the buck."
Personal injury attorney Jacob Emrani put up four billboards around Los Angeles to try and woo James, who can enter free agency this summer. ESPN.com reported the Philadelphia billboards were leased by Power Home Remodeling, a company based in Chester, Pennsylvania. The company's CEO says the goal is to bring James, a three-time NBA champion, to Philadelphia because "we think the best athletes should want to play here."
When the billboards in Philadelphia were erected, James couldn't help but be flattered by them.
"You can say it's a distraction, it's not. Not a distraction," James told reporters on Feb. 27 (Feb. 28, PHL time). "It is actually very flattering that I'm sitting here at 33 and in my 15th year and teams or guys -- I don't want to say teams because that becomes tampering -- but people in their respective city want me to play for them. That's cool I think. That's dope."
The 33-year-old James can opt out of his contract this summer with the Cavaliers. He's said in the past that he would like to end his career with Cleveland, but because he hasn't given the team a long-term commitment, there is constant speculation that he may leave his home state a second time.
James famously announced he was taking his "talents to South Beach" and signed with the Miami Heat in 2010. He won two NBA titles in four years with the Heat before returning to Cleveland in 2014
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.