Lebron James Not Just a Spoiler in Basketball

NBA Finals cause headache for GOP convention planners

A pedestrian walks by a LeBron James sign in Cleveland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
A pedestrian walks by a LeBron James sign in Cleveland. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Posted June 14, 2016 at 3:03pm

The 2016 NBA Finals haven’t just kept Cleveland Cavaliers’ and Golden State Warriors’ fans on the edge of their respective seats.  

The championship series also has turned into a nail-biter for Republican convention planners.  

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RNC 2016 Convention Heads to Cleveland

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By winning 112-97 on Monday night, Lebron James’ Cavaliers have forced Game 6 in the best-of-seven series (the Warriors retain a 3-2 lead), extending their stay in town until Thursday.  And that means Marcia Lee Kelly, director of operations for the GOP convention , will now have roughly one month to remake the Quicken Loans Arena to her liking.  

“In an ideal world, we’d like to have eight to 10 weeks,” Kelly wrote of her preferred build-out time on Medium. “For the first time in modern convention history, we could be working with less than four.”  

The lightning-fast turnaround, however, is not expected to affect the party’s planned programming.  

“There is nothing that is being altered or abandoned in terms of construction or programming,” Kelly said. The GOP convention crew has already begun working on removing extraneous materials from the venue, she said.  

“We are able to move literally tons of equipment and backyard storage materials (like thousands of chairs, medic tables, a Zamboni, and lots of mobile concession stands) out of ‘The Q,’ ” she said, using a popular nickname for the arena.  

And if the Cavs tie things up?  

That certainly would be exciting, said Audrey Scagnelli, the national press secretary for the convention — particularly since a contingency plan would automatically kick in right after the final buzzer.  

“We will have access to the arena within hours of the final game,” Scagnelli said. She predicted that construction workers would be moving in even as the ESPN and ABC news crews roll out toward the Bay Area.

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Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena CEO Len Komoroski said his people are already laying cable and tending to as many behind-the-scenes adjustments as possible.  

He expressed confidence that once the well-seasoned GOP crew moves in, things would come together quickly.  

“The people who stage the convention have literally decades of experience,” Komoroski said. “They’ve encountered just about everything you can imagine.”  

Kelly, meanwhile, continues to sweat all the details.  

“Turning shower rooms into working production offices, ordering several thousands of dollars worth of signage, turning suites into working media booths, and building a stunning stage — worthy of possibly nominating the 45th president of the United States,” is how she described the top priorities on her now-truncated timetable.  

Contact Rojas at

warrenrojas@rollcall.com

and follow him on Twitter at

@WARojas.


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