The plans of Break Up With LeBron to donate Clevelanders' unwanted LeBron jerseys to Miami-area homeless shelters hit a snag last week when politics got in the way of a good deed.
According to the Broward New Times:
"It's on hold right now," says Rita Clark of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless. "There's a lot of politics around this."
The Coalition had been in talks with the Cleveland do-gooders, but ran into some resistance here in South Florida. Apparently, a marketing plan based on the concept of, Here — take a bunch of stuff we hate! wasn't particularly appealing. Clark says she heard Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado was opposed to the donation plan.
"It seemed very well-intentioned, but it's not gonna happen right away," Clark says. "I'm trying to help them be better received here in Miami."
That left many in Miami shaking their heads. Really? Shirts are shirts, right? Who cares what the officials have to say. The homeless would totally take a free LeBron Cavs jersey and wear it, right?
Miami New Times decided to conduct an experiment to answer the question.
We happened to have an authentic wine-and-gold never-worn LeBron James Cavaliers jersey. We tore off the $59.99 price tag and headed to the area surrounding NE First Avenue in downtown — Miami's version of Skid Row, a few blocks from LeBron's new workplace, the American Airlines Arena.
The first shirtless bum we saw identified himself only as Patches. He's thusly nicknamed because of the green bandanna he wraps over his left eye, rendered sightless after a botched surgery. Originally from Cuba, Patches, who wears an ancient Pizza Hut baseball cap and keeps a twig between chapped lips, says he became homeless two years ago. He was stranded in Miami after cops dragged him from his former home in Houston to face time for an old robbery warrant.
Patches had heard of LeBron James — duh — but was unaware of the controversy surrounding the jerseys. "Shit, I'll wear anything," he remarked and happily donned the supposedly toxic jersey. As we drove away, he catwalked an imaginary runway in front of a homeless buddy, who looked envious.
So what was that about politics? The entire quest took Riptide all of five minutes.