The inaugural rides on Cedar Point’s new record-breaking roller coaster has raised a nice chunk of change for the LeBron James Family Foundation.
Some $53,225 was raised for the foundation that works to create change in Akron by keeping youngsters in the classroom and on a path to a college education at the University of Akron.
The park sold special $75 tickets — with tickets to be on the first train cars to leave the station fetching $250 — for Friday night’s event to be among the first to ride the record-breaking Steel Vengeance.
James even broke his usual playoff-run social media silence to mark the occasion that saw 36 ninth-graders from his Foundation making the trip from Akron to Sandusky to be a part of the event.
“It’s big. It’s nasty. Its vengeful,” James said in a video the Foundation tweeted out. “Cedar Point’s new roller coaster Steel Vengeance.”
The new coaster has risen from the timbers of the old Mean Streak wooden roller coaster and has shattered a fist full of world records.
Thanks to a new steel track, the coaster is able to go upside down and sideways and even sets a record for the most out-of-your-seat airtime.
The foundation and the amusement park have been partners for several years, starting when Cedar Point General Manager Jason McClure tweeted an offer to name a coaster after James should he return to play for the wine and gold when he left the Miami Heat.
Instead of naming a coaster, the park has donated money raised on first rides on new attractions from roller coasters to water slides.
The park also plays host each summer to the foundation’s Family Reunion where some Akron kids in his program and their families enjoy a day of fun at Cedar Point.
Last summer, James put on a special one-night show at the park for the kids that also starred teammate J.R. Smith and singers Jordin Sparks and Usher.
With the Cavs facing possible elimination in Game 7 of the opening round of the playoffs Sunday night against the Indiana Pacers, this could be James’ last game in a Cavs uniform should he choose to take his talents elsewhere.
McClure said the park is well aware of that possibility but remains committed to partnering with James and the work of the foundation.
So far, he said, there are no plans to once again offer to name something after the NBA All-Star to keep him in a Cavs uniform.
Cedar Point opens its gates to the public on May 5 to kick off its 149th season.