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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 September 2018

Three billboards urge LeBron James to sign with 76ers

Ads urging him to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with Philadelphia as a free agent have been installed along Interstate 480

The 33-year-old James can opt out of his contract this summer with the Cavaliers. Ken Blaze/USA TODAY
The 33-year-old James can opt out of his contract this summer with the Cavaliers. Ken Blaze/USA TODAY

The courtship of LeBron James has taken an Oscar-worthy turn – toward Philadelphia.

Three billboards urging James to leave the Cavaliers and sign with the Philadelphia 76ers this summer as a free agent have been installed along Interstate 480, south of Cleveland. The signs are inspired by the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, an Academy Award nominee for best picture.

The sequence of signs includes one with the slogan "Complete The Process", a play on the Sixers’ "Trust The Process" mantra with their young team and a billboard that reads: "#PhillyWantsLeBron".

ESPN.com reported the billboards were leased by Power Home Remodeling, a company based in Chester, Pennsylvania. A company executive said the goal is to bring James, a three-time NBA champion, to Philadelphia because “we think the best athletes should want to play here”.

With a young nucleus of talented players including Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, the Sixers, who play in Cleveland on Thursday night, will have the salary-cap space required to land a player like James this summer.

The NBA has tampering rules in place to prevent teams from wooing players. But there’s nothing to prevent individuals or groups from trying.

“We’re passionate about Philadelphia,” Asher Raphael, the company’s co-chief executive, told ESPN. “We have an amazing city, it’s the best sports town and it’s an awesome place to live … LeBron is in the conversation of being the best player of all time. We think if he comes to Philly, he gets a couple more championships.”

James, 33, can opt out of his contract this summer with the Cavaliers. He has said in the past that he would like to end his career with Cleveland, but because he has not 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.

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