The Cities In The LeBron Sweepstakes

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Of the cities that host teams LeBron James might join, his current location in Cleveland posts the highest poverty rate.

Photo by: Keith Allison

Of the cities that host teams LeBron James might join, his current location in Cleveland posts the highest poverty rate.

During the week-long LeBron James free agency saga, six cities were the backdrops to their teams’ bids for the NBA’s most prized free agent. Now that James has made his decision public, the comparisons of coaching staff and personnel will soon cease. But the cities will go on reflecting American’s urban diversity and problems. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data from the 2006 through 2008 American Community Surveys, here’s the stat sheet on the six towns among which James chose a home:

His Pick: The Heat
Miami, Florida
Population: 349,856
Demographics: White 11% Black 19% Asian 1% Latino 69%
Median household income: $29,151, meaning if James earns the league maximum, his yearly salary will be about 659 times what a median household takes home.
Poverty rate: 26%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 8%

The Clippers
Los Angeles, California
Population: 3,749,058
Demographics: White 29% Black 10% Asian 10% Latino 48%
Median household income: $48,610, meaning if James had gone to the Clippers and earned the league maximum, his earnings would have been about 395 times what a median household makes.
Poverty rate: 19%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 8%

The Bulls
Chicago, Illinois
Population: 2,725,206
Demographics: White 31% Black 34% Asian 5% Latino 28%
Median household income: $46,767, meaning if James had gone to the Bulls and earned the league maximum, his earnings would have been about 411 times what a median household earned.
Poverty rate: 21%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 9%

The Cavaliers
Cleveland, Ohio
Population: 397,901
Demographics: White 35% Black 52% Asian 2% Latino 9%
Median household income: $27,956, meaning if James had stayed with the Cavs and earned the league maximum (higher if he remains in Cleveland than if he goes elsewhere), his earnings would have been about 894 times what a median household earned.
Poverty rate: 29%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 13%

The Nets
Newark, New Jersey
Population: 262,313
Demographics: White 13% Black 51% Asian 2% Latino 32%
Median household income: $35,601, meaning if James had gone to the Nets and earned the league maximum, his earnings would have been about 539 times what a median household earned.
Poverty rate: 25%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 12%

The Knicks
New York, New York
Population: 8,308,163
Demographics: White 35% Black 23% Asian 12% Latino 28%
Median household income: $50,403, meaning if James had gone to the Knicks and earned the league maximum, his earnings would have been about 381 times what a median household earned.
Poverty rate: 19%
Rate of “deep poverty” (incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line): 8%