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The LeBron banner is coming down, but there are plenty of options to replace it

The iconic LeBron James banner is coming down for the second time.

After James decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, the 10-story banner, which is right in downtown Cleveland and has become a fan-favorite spot, will be taken down, as reported first by the Associated Press. The banner — a Nike design that hangs on the Sherwin-Williams global headquarters — also went down in 2010 when James left for Miami, but was resurrected when James returned home in 2014.

You can watch part of the banner’s removal below:

Sherwin-Williams is still deciding what to do with the wall, per the report. So we decided to think up some options.

7. J.R. Smith

Could you imagine a J.R. Smith banner? We couldn’t either, especially after his Game 1 debacle. But if Smith stays in Cleveland, he will almost certainly have the opportunity to be the mercurial gunner he was before heading to the Cavaliers. Remember, he attempted an NBA-record 22 three-pointers in a single game in 2014. Putting Smith on a banner probably won’t be the best way to remember the end to LeBron’s second era in Cleveland, so he falls seventh in our rankings.

Cleveland needs a new banner, and there’s only one answer.

6. Corey Kluber

Kluber is a bonafide ace on one of MLB’s best teams over the past two seasons. He’s the reigning AL Cy Young winner, and he also won the award in 2014. He’s undoubtedly a star.

But being really good at your craft doesn’t get you on banners. Kluber only pitches once every five days, and he’s not flashy off the field. That, of course, isn’t a criticism. He’s a truly terrific pitcher But it’s hard to envision Cleveland faithful being pumped up to visit a massive Kluber tribute.

5. Baker Mayfield

If you fast-forward two years and Baker Mayfield is leading the young Browns to the playoffs, he’s the obvious answer. He has moxie on and off the field — he recently roasted Colin Cowherd (on Cowherd’s own show nonetheless) — and has said all the right things so far regarding his status as the backup.

But right now, Mayfield isn’t quite the right choice. At this point it looks like Mayfield will be glued to the bench behind Tyrod Taylor and perhaps even Drew Stanton. Give Mayfield time before he gets the honor of succeeding James.

4. Myles Garrett

Garrett, last year’s top overall pick, made a solid impression in his debut year with the Browns by registering seven sacks in an injury-shortened campaign. And he’s certainly expressed interest in taking over the throne in Cleveland.


Garrett doesn’t play a glorious position, though, and the Browns simply haven’t been successful enough. Garrett could yet be football’s next great defensive end, but he’s not in the position to take over the Sherwin-Williams building.

3. Collin Sexton

If Nike wants to keep the banner, Sexton — who wore Nike shoes while at Alabama — could be a great option. He’s an energetic fireball who plays with terrific intensity and showed the ability in college to absolutely take over games. Just look at his 21-point second half against Virginia Tech in this year’s Round of 64.

Sexton’s nickname is “Young Bull,” and he could certainly be the guy to lead Cleveland into the post-LeBron James era alongside Kevin Love. He has the charisma, the intensity and the skill. Cavaliers fans will have no problem rooting for him as the potential new face of the franchise.

2. Josh Gordon

If there is anyone who speaks to personal struggle, perseverance and coming back stronger, it’s Josh Gordon. The Baylor product led the league in receiving yards in 2013, played in just five games in 2014 and then missed all of 2015 and 2016. He came back late in 2017 and showed some flashes of what made him such a terrific player.

Gordon, like Garrett, isn’t short on confidence, either. In June, he proclaimed that the Browns have the league’s best receiving corps. If Gordon can prove he can stay on the field, he’s a strong contender. Plus at 6’3″ and a chiseled 225 pounds, Gordon’s image would provide a perfect mix of strength, power and skill.

1. Francisco Lindor

 

Francisco Lindor is always smiling, and he could put a smile on Cleveland fans’ faces, even after LeBron James’ departure. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Francisco Lindor is the best option, and it’s not particularly close. The Indians are currently first in the AL and two years removed from being one game away from a World Series title. Lindor is currently tied for the league lead in runs, and he’s on track to set a new career high in home runs this season.

But it’s not just that Lindor is a terrific player; he has a terrific personality. He’s nicknamed “Mr. Smile,” and he’s always having fun on and off the field. Putting the happiest player on the city’s best team on the banner would be a great way to move forward.

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