Everyone in Cleveland loves LeBron James again, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t forgotten the slights he received when he left town the first time. Case in point: LeBron is officially the most unwilling beer spokesman in the Great Lakes region. Remember when the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar grabbed a bottle of beer during Game One of the Eastern Conference on Monday night? James later joked that had it been a glass of wine, he might have actually taken a sip on the court.
That’s because LeBron isn’t much of a beer guy, but the company that makes Dortmunder Gold — Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing — thought to take advantage of the viral advertising with a bit of a promotion.
In a since-deleted tweet, Great Lakes advertised $1 off pints of Dortmunder Gold at its pub. It featured a cutout image of LeBron with beer in hand, which a photographed quite a few times on Monday night. The company later tweeted out — and deleted — said image later.
Turns out LeBron isn’t ready to endorse Great Lakes after what they did shortly after LeBron’s infamous Decision to hit free agency and play in Miami.
Back in 2010, Great Lakes released ‘Quitness,’ a dry-hopped IPA that was brewed to leave “a bitter aftertaste, perfectly describing the mood of Cleveland sports fans these days.”
The beer’s name was an obvious reference to LeBron’s “Witness” Nike campaign and, though they weren’t the only Cleveland-based brewery to take a shot at LeBron with a beer name, James remembered the slight when speaking with the media on Wednesday.
“This is about the last thing I’m trying to worry about right now, my agent and my legal team will take care of it, but yeah I know (Great Lakes) is trying to benefit off of me,” James told cleveland.com. “And I heard they were the same company that made all those ‘Quitness’ beers, and now they’re trying to benefit off me this way? Yeah, it’s pretty funny.”
Sources close to James said that kind of advertising featuring James’ likeness would cost a company at least $2 million, maybe more.
Oh damn. Now we have a craft beer feud. This NBA postseason is wild.
Maybe LeBron’s just a fan of the better Great Lakes beer company, the Canadian one that’s just outside of downtown Toronto in Etobicoke. It would be quite the marketing coup if the Canadian Great Lakes could manage to get James to visit the brewery as the series switches from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.