Cleveland — Adewale “Ace” Abati from Nigeria is 23 years old.He is also a huge fan of our #23, LeBron James.
"I just want to meet him. He's an idol to me right now pretty much,” Abati says in a Skype interview from Nigeria.
The almost 200 hundred tweets he's sent out daily with shout outs to the king sort of gives that away.
So Ace took a cue from the Cavs to do “Whatever It Takes” to get to Cleveland and to meet Lebron James.
In our Skype interview, the “Whatever It Take” Cavs poster over his shoulder on his otherwise bare walls...half a world away...sort of gave that away.
Since Ace’s 23rd birthday in October he relentlessly and religiously tried to get to Cleveland.
Then, he did it.
“I was like whooaa! I'm in CLEVELAND!,” he says, smiling like he had just landed.
It was compliments of Sani, a friend from London who Ace had never met.
Sani told Ace “If you can get to Cleveland I’ll get everything from there." So when Ace touched down at Hopkins.
"I was like Hey Man! What's up? Welcome to Cleveland! Let’s take a picture! This is it man! Cleveland! We’re in THE LAND!”
It was the first time Ace and Sani met in person outside of Ace’s tweets, the first time they had even heard each other's voices.
On May 5th, two excited friends from two cities, far far away, headed to The Q in the CLE to see the Cavs.
"Being there was electric, fun, noise, screaming. I was like wow! I’m so blessed to be here!" Abati says
Why? Why, in case you’re not clear, again, why did Albati travel 6,000 miles, and shell out more than $2,000 just to get to Cleveland?
"Why not? If I don't do this now when am I going to do it? I can't say I’ll do it next year. There may not be a next year. So why not take the chance now!?" Abati says, clearly, not FROM Cleveland.
In this city we are typically fine with “There's ALWAYS next year”, but there is something to say about getting it done!
Ace Albati did, he got himself to The Q in the city we get to call home.
"I was speechless because I was like WOW! This is fandom. I was jealous though. You get to do this every other day," said Abati
But there was this tiny little kink in coming to Cleveland for the king.
Ace didn’t get to meet Lebron.
But you know this optimist from Nigeria, who never says never isn't giving up.
If Ace does ever have the ear of Lebron, he would tell him this.
“I love Cleveland! Yes! I am a WITNESS! Thank you so much Lebron for inspiring someone from so far away. Thank you for doing so much for the community and for speaking up and fighting for what you believe in," he said.
"Thank you for coming out every night to do your best. Thanks you so much for inspiring me to do [my] best every single time."