AKRON, Ohio — Community members in Akron are stepping up to help the artist of the Space Jam-inspired Lebron James mural vandalized earlier this week.
Artist Chardae Slater posted on Instagram Tuesday thanking community members for donating money to help her fix the mural, as well as the LeBron James Family Foundation for offering support.
Someone defaced the artwork with spray paint early Monday, upsetting local residents and fans of the basketball superstar, like Jerome Lane.
“A lot of people, you know, throw shade at Akron, but it's all what you make it. I love it here,” said Lane.
Lane is proud of the city and the talent it's produced, like his dad, Jerome Lane Sr., who played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 90s and of course Akron’s most famous basketball export, LeBron James.
“LeBron coming from a small town that he came from, giving us all hope, accomplishing the things that he had accomplished,” said Lane.
That’s why the vandalism hurts him.
“Every time I drive by and see it, is like a cringing feeling, it's a cringing feeling, like who would do this?” said Lane. “I'm thinking it's some LeBron haters, but it's like at the end of the day who would just go as far as to vandalize a beautiful portrait like this?” said Lane.
Now, Lane is leading a movement to come together and help the artist fix the mural.
“We're gonna get this thing fixed,” said Lane.
He took to Facebook with the idea, posting this message Tuesday: “I think we should come together as a city and fix that girls painting of LeBron that got vandalized couldn't have been one of ours who did that I mean ima do it regardless but would be cool if we came together for that !!”
The post garnered dozens of responses from people pledging their support.
“However much it costs, we are willing to get it fixed and put it together. So that was a beautiful thing,” said Lane.
His other goal: to show Slater and the world how Akron steps up to lift up one of their own.
“Keep going, the city’s behind you, we love your work. And we are ready to get this thing taken care of. We love your work, just keep going,” said Lane.
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