'Everywhere I go I preach Akron'; LeBron's celebration speech, s - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

'Everywhere I go I preach Akron'; LeBron's celebration speech, short and sweet

Crowd at Lock 3. (Source: WOIO) Crowd at Lock 3. (Source: WOIO)
Lock 3 during LeBron James celebration. (Source: Tyler Krusinski) Lock 3 during LeBron James celebration. (Source: Tyler Krusinski)
Akron fans started lining up at 9 a.m. Thursday. (Source: WOIO) Akron fans started lining up at 9 a.m. Thursday. (Source: WOIO)
LeBron James (Source: WOIO) LeBron James (Source: WOIO)
LeBron James (Source: John Wise/WOIO) LeBron James (Source: John Wise/WOIO)

The celebration for the Akron's own LeBron James Thursday evening packed Lock 3 in downtown Akron, more than an hour before the event begin.

"Akron is home, y'all know that. Everywhere I go I preach Akron," said LeBron James.

FULL VIDEO: Click or tap here to watch LeBron's speech in its entirety

More than 20,000 people were on hand to honor hometown hero LeBron James. Canal Parks opened for the overflow crowd that didn't make it in Lock 3.

"There's no way I could have accomplish such a feat like we did this past Sunday without the support of you guys," LeBron said. "I turn around and I see all my friends, all my family, my wife, my two boys, my daughter -- they're my rod, my support system. They give me the confidence to go out and do the things I do every night."

At the start of the ceremony, organizers unveiled a brand new banner in his honor.

Gates to the Lock 3 outdoor concert venue opened early, at 5:30 p.m. The event started promptly at 8 p.m. at Lock 3 on South Main Street. 

The theme for the event is 'We are Family,' which is also a theme for the LeBron James Family Foundation.  

There is a tremendous amount of pride for the self-proclaimed 'kid from Akron.'  James has done his part to 'pay it forward' in his community. He has offered thousands of kids scholarships to college through his 'Wheels for Education' and 'I Promise Network'. Children from those programs will be special guests for Thursday night's event. 

The Lock 3 celebration is standing-room only. Guests were not permitted to bring chairs, blankets, umbrellas, signs or backpacks through the gates. Admission was free and there were video screens and speakers set up outside the main gates. 

"At the end of the day and this is the last thing that I'm going to say. It was 50 plus years that the Cleveland drought was going on. The Cleveland drought from the last championship was 50 some odd years ago and guess what...it too a kid from Akron to end it. Thank-You!" yelled LeBron. 

Much like Wednesday's Cavs parade, Akron's event ended with music and fireworks.

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