Daily Video

June 29, 2010

Dunking Dollars in Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio, was once a major port city on Lake Erie. Steel mills, car plants and countless manufacturers once clogged the mouth of the Cuyahoga River with their goods, but these days the city is in a semi-depressed economic state.

This week, Cleveland sports fans find themselves a bit down, too, with a highly-prized and likely export they actually don’t want to see leave. Ohio native and NBA superstar LeBron James’ $16 million contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers is up, freeing him to sign with any other team in the league. Will he be tempted by the brighter lights of a bigger city?

If James leaves, it may mean a loss of pride for Cleveland and a significant economic loss of about $140 million in revenue.

As part of his ongoing Making Sen$e series on economic news, Paul Solman explores the massive economic and psychological impact James has on the city.


“We have fans who come here and make the sojourn to Cleveland from all over the world. We are one of the most heavily televised teams in our league, both nationally, as well as internationally. And even in China this past year, we were on 34 times in China.” Len Komoroski, president, Cleveland Cavaliers

“LeBron definitely brings a different crowd down here, a good crowd.” Doug Petkovic, co-owner, Lola

Warm Up Questions

1. Who is LeBron James? Where is he from?

2. Who pays professional athletes? Who benefits?

Discussion Questions

1. Try and predict if LeBron James will leave the Cavaliers? What are the pros and cons of staying in Cleveland?

2. If you were James what would you do? Why?

3. Why do you think athletes wield so much power in our society? Do you think that it is a good thing? Why or why not?

4. Think about your local sports teams, how do they affect your local economy?

Additional Resources

Read the transcript

Making Sen$e

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