LeBron James urged to switch to Philadelphia 76ers via three billboards in Cleveland

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers playing against the Memphis Grizzlies in February 2018, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Joe Murphy | Getty Images

Three billboards in Cleveland, Ohio, have appeared along the city's Interstate 480 calling for basketball star LeBron James to sign up with the Philadelphia 76ers.

James, who has played with the Cleveland Cavaliers since 2014, could opt out of the final year of his deal.

The first poster shows a basketball court with 23, the number on James's jersey, with a crown on it. A second reads "Complete the process," a reference to the 76ers' "Trust the process" mantra, while a third reads "Philly wants LeBron."

But the billboards don't come from the 76ers; instead, they were paid for by Power Home Remodeling, a roofing and window contractor with headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A small message at the foot of the posters reads "Paid for by Power," including the brand's logo.

Three billboards from Power Home Remodeling urging LeBron James to sign to the Philadelphia 76ers
Power Home Remodeling

The posters appear consecutively, like those in the movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," a film that has been nominated for seven Academy Awards at this Sunday's Oscars ceremony. Power Home Remodeling's co-chief executive Asher Raphael told ESPN that the company chose the site because there are three billboards in a row on a freeway.

"We're passionate about Philadelphia," Raphael told ESPN. "We have an amazing city, it's the best sports town and it's an awesome place to live. We think the best athletes should want to play here."

He added that he would have preferred not to have his company's logo on the posters, but without it the billboard company considered it a political advert.

Two of the billboards from Power Home Remodeling urging LeBron James to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Power Home Remodeling

"This type of bold initiative, purchasing outdoor ads with an aim to go viral, to build camaraderie is not unusual for us. However, this campaign has gone further than we could have imagined — a reach of almost 80 million on Twitter," Power Home Remodeling's vice-president, public relations Michelle Bauer told CNBC via email.

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri," tells the story of a mother urging the police to find a culprit for her daughter's murder via billboard adverts. Since its release, the movie has inspired others to use similar-style posters, including Reddit founder Alexis O'Hanian proclaiming new wife Serena Williams the "Greatest momma of all time" via four billboards near Palm Springs, California.

In the U.K., Justice 4 Grenfell, the campaign group for the survivors and families of the 71 people killed in the Grenfell residential tower fire in London, parked three billboards outside British Parliament buildings in February, asking why no arrests had been made.