The Decision | A few days prior, I had purchased a lens from Dodd Camera that wasn’t functioning properly. I wanted to see if I could find another one before taking it back. So, on Friday morning I decided to go down to Camera City and see what they had for me. I parked and put about two hours worth of change into the parking meter and started walking down the street.
As I’m about twenty feet from the door, I hear and see this man running out of the Winking Lizard across the street yelling “Welcome home LeBron!” Confused, I look at my phone and refresh the ESPN page that was already open in my browser because I was reading an article earlier that morning about how Dan Gilbert’s infamous letter might’ve still been a touchy issue.
Then I opened my Twitter app and saw the SI photo with “I’m Coming Home” written on it. “Shit,” I tweeted. There was an alarm going off down the street at Quicken Loans Arena, but that thing is always going off. The events that followed were nothing short of surreal.
Needless to say, I kept walking past Camera City and opted to stroll down Huron Road closer to The Q and see how others would react as the news spread. I circled Ontario as I started to reach in my bag and pull out my camera. I wanted to have it at the ready for anything that might have been about to happen.
I made a right onto Prospect and I saw groups of downtown working professionals giving each other high fives and grinning. Then came the horns — motorists began leaning on them heavily and yelling inaudibly from their windows.
I drifted over onto East 4th and could hear the buzzing begin to pick up even more. I saw a gentleman wearing one of those old “Witness” shirts and he expressed how he was hopeful for the Cavaliers’ future. Local news station television cameras had now descended upon the area and were interviewing people left and right — while they ate, while they drove, whatever.
I swung back over by The Q and the chorus of vehicle horns had somehow morphed into a call and response thing. As each car sounded off, the every growing crowd roared — a trend that would continue for the rest of the afternoon and only intensify. Over to the side, there was a gentleman with a sign that read “The King Has Returned” and it was quickly attracting the attention of fans and media alike.
I took a break from all the excitement and finally made it into Camera City. I found a lens I was satisfied with, bought it and started to go check my parking meter. On my way there, I bumped into AZ (one of Scene’s owners) and we chatted for a quick second. He pointed up and to the right, showing me a big “Welcome Home LeBron” sign that was on the marquee at the corner of 9th & Prospect. I eventually made it to the meter which had about thirteen minutes remaining on it. I put some more change in there and figured I’d test out my new lens as the hoopla was still going on.
Back at The Q, national media was now on the scene as well — ESPN, CNN and Fox Sports to name a few. I watched as Josina Anderson and Marty Savidge got ready for their live broadcasts with hordes of rambunctious (and some creepy) fans surrounding them. Cavaliers PA announcer Olivier Sedra was out conducting interviews.
I continued to shoot. One of the more interesting sights of the afternoon was an old Shawn Kemp jersey. Where he found that old relic…no one knows. I knew I had some good shots to work with so I decided to close up shop and head home. Walking up the street, storefronts were already celebrating on their sidewalk signs. I even saw a Budweiser poster which made me scratch my head a little bit.
I get home, anxious to get to editing…and my laptop has gone out on me. I wind up having to rush to get one at Best Buy. Albeit frantically, I still managed to get the photos edited and submitted that night. Just a crazy day overall.
On this day in 1995, the movie KIDS was released in theaters.
Classic. RIP Harold Hunter and Justin Pierce.
Sunday Funday | Back in early June, I went down to Edgewater Park to see if I could get a few photos of people enjoying the nice weather. I saw kids (and big kids) building sand castles, a few people catching some rays and even a few jet skiers. The photos were never used, but this was one of my favorites from the day.
Angry Black Man | They paint Charles Ramsey to be this character — almost like a walking, talking sideshow. While some of the things he says may be off the cuff and makes many people uneasy, he’s never one to hold back — saying what he feels at any given moment.
In the three times I’ve met with Chuck (the top two photos are from the second meeting), I’ve found him to be funny, insightful and fully aware of the circus that can surround him at times. The first time I met him, he was doing an interview with Mike Polk Jr. and the two had an in-depth discussion about various details of his life — chronicled in his book entitled Dead Giveaway. After the interview, we spoke about various movers and shakers in the city and how the degrees of separation have been shortened.
Prior to these photos being captured, I had lunch with him, his publisher, co-author and his girlfriend at ABC Tavern. As the shoot was wrapping up, he spoke to fans that walked up and lauded him as a hero.
The last time I saw Ramsey was at a book signing in Coventry Village and it was during that signing that someone presented him with an odd token of appreciation — a meal from McDonald’s.
Imposters | I met this group of celebrity impersonators at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during one of their “Summer In The City” shows. I only had the chance to talk them for a little while, but I learned that they were visiting from Canada and the woman dressed as Michael Jackson was the winner of a costume contest. I welcomed them to the States and told them about how I was a fan of The Beer Store.
I just found your blog and woooooaaahhhhh i really like it you don't understand it's so great!!! I live in Cleveland too and it's awesome seeing all the familiar places and stories and all. so keep on keepin on c;
I’m probably soooooooooo late replying, but thank you soooooooooo much! I’m going to try to be more frequent with my posts.
Indecisive | Obviously this all happened before LeBron decided to return home…this was even before the Heat lost in the Finals to the Spurs. Anyway, I had a ticket to the Cavaliers’ draft party and I was going to go and take photos. As time grew closer, an email went out from AZ (one of Scene’s owners) about VIP passes. I said I already had tickets, but I’d gladly take those instead.
I ended up walking around the floor, perusing the locker room, randomly talking to people and of course taking photos. I spoke to this gentleman and he said he was really unsure about who the Cavaliers would take with the first pick. He had a hunch that it would be Wiggins, but he wasn’t sure…so he had a sign for Jabari Parker as well.
Of course the Cavaliers selected Wiggins and most fans were happy with the pick…then some other stuff happened and now everyone’s wondering what lies ahead.
Only time will tell. #GoCavaliers
Rain Man | Thunderstorms had been threatening all afternoon, but as I made my way downtown and walked along the sidewalk trying to figure out where the runners were at…they, along with the rain showers appeared. I fumbled through my bag to try and grab ahold of my camera — adjusting ISO, aperture and shutter speed just hoping I could get at least one decent shot of this oncoming herd of humanity that was galloping down Prospect Avenue.
Public transit traffic was still allowed to continue in the other direction and I was mindful enough not to get splashed. My shoes were flooded and my flimsy umbrella was on the verge of failing me. Many of the runners seemed to embrace — and even revel in the storm. After they passed, I sought refuge one street over on Huron Road where the runners would eventually end up and celebrate their accomplishments with with food, beer and music. The storm subsided less than fifteen minutes later but for that brief moment, the streets really looked like something out of Inception.