Cedar Point said they’d do it if he did it, and he did it. Now, they won’t do it, but they are doing something else.
USA Today is reporting that Sandusky, Ohio’s Cedar Point Amusement park and the LeBron James Family Foundation have partnered to raise awareness for James’ charity.
Cedar Point management had promised James that if he left Miami and returned to Cleveland, they would rename one of their roller coasters “King James.” The two sides negotiated, and decided a partnership would be more beneficial for both sides.
Cedar Point has said James was a frequent visitor while he was growing up in Akron and playing in Cleveland.
James left Miami this summer to return to Cleveland, where he played his first seven seasons.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that James’ charity and Cedar Point will host nearly will bring 800 children and their families who are part of the foundation’s “Wheels for Education” program and Akron/PROMISE Network, a dropout-prevention program based in Akron next summer,
The announcement Tuesday brings to a conclusion the controversial offer made by Cedar Point in the frenzied days before James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 11.
The park has announced that their stand-up roller coaster Mantis would be shut down later this month. Speculation was rampant that Mantis would be reworked and renamed. No plans have been announced for the coaster, however.
In addition to the day at the park, Cedar Point said it would host a first ride auction in the spring, with all proceeds benefiting the foundation that James founded in 2004.
“Ah, but they’re holding a first-ride auction on what?” wrote one Cedar Point fan on Facebook.
Cedar Point spokesman Bryan Edwards explained the park’s decision.
“After speaking with everyone involved, we wanted to do something far bigger and better than renaming a roller coaster in LeBron’s name. We are thrilled to be ongoing partners by making a lasting impact for kids in Northeast Ohio. LeBron wanted it that way, and we couldn’t agree more.”
Jeff Putz, co-founder of PointBuzz, a website for Cedar Point fans, said the decision may help James repair his reputation with Ohioans who are still skeptical about his return to the Cavaliers.
“It may not have been what people were expecting, but I don’t think you can complain about the outcome,” said Putz.
He added that Cedar Point has been increasingly involved in charitable partnerships in recent years.
The Wheels for Education program is a dropout-prevention program that serves nearly 800 Akron-area students, targeting third graders with support, mentors and other programs targeting success in school.
Once Wheels for Education students reach middle school, they graduate into the Akron/PROMISE Network, where they continue to receive academic support and intervention until graduation. The first class of Wheels for Education students will graduate in 2021.
[Image courtesy of Roblox.com]