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COLUMBUS — LeBron James may no longer be an Ohioan, but Gov. John Kasich Monday said the world champion Dallas Mavericks are welcome here anytime.
The governor issued a proclamation declaring the National Basketball Association champs “honorary Ohioans.’’ Dallas defeated the Miami Heat 105-95 on Sunday.
The proclamation doesn’t specifically mention former Cleveland Cavalier James, but it praises the Mavericks for their “loyalty, integrity, and teamwork.” Mr. James was shunned by Cleveland after his heavily hyped decision to leave the city for a more lucrative contract with the Miami Heat.
“…NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki chose to re-sign with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer of 2010, forgoing free agency and keeping his talents in Dallas, thus remaining loyal to the team, city and fans for whom he played his entire career…,’’ the proclamation reads.
“…(T)he proud city of Cleveland and the entire state of Ohio share in the excitement of Dallas Mavericks fans everywhere,” it adds.
Mr. Kasich wasted little time getting involved this time around. As a Republican candidate last year, he faced some criticism for not expressing as much concern as his opponent, Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, about the possibility of Mr. James leaving Cleveland during the hype that preceded his televised decision.
Mr. Kasich drew laughs when he talked about the resolution while speaking to reporters at Nagle Co. during a tour of Lake Township in Wood County Monday.
“I went to bed in the third quarter, and I’m thinking, I just don’t know if they [the Mavericks] can carry this,” Mr. Kasich said. “I heard my family yelling and screaming so I had to get up and I looked on my iPad ... and I was thrilled to see them win.”
Monday’s resolution states that the Mavericks are entitled to “all privileges and honors” associated with being honorary Ohioans. It doesn’t state what those privileges and honors may be.