Nike’s new LeBron James banner in Cleveland

A Cleveland city design committee has approved the above Nike banner to take the spot of LeBron James’ former “Witness” mural across the street from Quicken Loans Arena.

Now, according to, the committee is awaiting approval from the city:

Committee members had few concerns about the wall display, which is being sponsored by Nike Inc. At 110 feet by 200 feet, the proposed banner is similar to other Nike-James images that adorned the wall of the Landmark Office Towers from 2005 to 2010.

David Sternberg of Gigantic Media, a Chagrin Falls company working on the project, said Nike and building owner Sherwin-Williams Co. hope to erect the banner before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ home opener in October.

The Sherwin-Williams Co. and Gigantic Media are asking the city to approve a new 10-story banner of LeBron James, who graced the side of the Landmark Office Towers until he left Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010. The new image is almost a reversal of the old banner, which showed James from the front and carried the tagline “We Are All Witnesses.”

“I think it was genius to put Cleveland on his back,” committee member Jeffrey Bogart said of the new design, in which James faces away from passersby and sports a jersey bearing the city’s name, instead of his own. “To have Cleveland – it’s about Cleveland, it’s not about one person.”

“Well, it is about one person,” Craig Brown, another committee member, responded.

Very true. It is about one person.

The design still has to be approved by the Cleveland City Planning Committee on Friday, but no one’s going to be getting in the way of it. The old “Witness” banner showed James from the front as he threw rosin in the air. It was torn down after James, you know, nearly burned down the city in 2010 by leaving for “South Beach” in free agency.

James stopped doing the rosin toss in 2011 but returned to the pregame ritual occassionally in Miami. In Cleveland, expect the full thing to return.

The people cheering in the background — and “Cleveland” being featured on the back of the jersey instead of LeBron’s last name — are nice touches, continuing the “healing” theme that started with James’ decison to come “home” in July.

If this banner is coming back, and the powder toss, can we get other things from 2010? A Facebook that doesn’t make you want to throw your phone into the ocean? Is The Fray a thing again? Can the Cavs bring back Boobie Gibson?

Anyway, cool banner, LeBron’s back, everyone can feel good. Happy feelings and hugs through advertising.