No more burning jerseys. The good people of Cleveland are packing garbage bags full of those tainted LeBron James relics -- No. 23 jerseys, shoes, homemade T-shirts that proclaimed the King's name in puffy paint -- and donating them to a worthy cause.
A group of ad designers and other creative types in Cleveland launched a campaign last week to collect LeBron paraphernalia and send it to homeless shelters in Miami. They've
also created a website, breakupwithlebron.com, selling T-shirts that tell the basketball star, "It's not us, it's you." (The above video, produced by StoneKap Productions, hammers home that point.)
"For us, it was really hard to watch anybody burning their shirts," says Chris Jungjohann, who started the charitable project with a group of friends after LeBron announced his much-maligned move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat. "The response has been a lot bigger than we ever imagined."
The Associated Press picked up on the story, along with TV stations across the country. The first batch of breakup T-shirts sold out, and "my phone's been on fire for the last 24 hours," Jungjohann says.
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All proceeds from the T-shirts are being donated to the City Mission of Cleveland. But the hundreds of donated jerseys -- piling up in large boxes at restaurants throughout Northeast Ohio -- will be sent south.
"The homeless in Cleveland wouldn't necessarily want them," Jungjohann explains. "People are too proud here."
Jungjohann doesn't know precisely where the LeBron jerseys will be sent. He's open to suggestions of reputable organizations that help the homeless in Miami. And he's hoping that if enough clothes are donated by the July 30 deadline, he'll be able to pack an SUV or a U-Haul and drive them to Miami -- perhaps with the help of corporate sponsorship.
"We're hoping to do it all at once," he says. "I sure wouldn't mind driving down there."