Customers waiting hours for 23-cent pizzas in Ohio Print
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Thursday, 08 May 2008 12:45
NBA Headline News

 UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) - Maybe Cleveland Cavaliers fans can hope for cheap gas if an oil company insults All-Star LeBron James.
Lines were so long Thursday at some of the 86 Papa John's stores offering a large, one-topping pizza for 23 cents that police stood nearby to make sure people didn't get unruly.
The Louisville, Ky.-based company agreed to the offer after a franchisee in Washington, D.C., made T-shirts calling star LeBron James a ``crybaby.'' The shirts referred to James' complaints about hard fouls during a playoff series that the Washington Wizards lost to the Cavaliers.
The 23-cent price of a pizza is a homage to James' jersey number.
There were a few headaches, mostly complaints about long waits and line-cutting. In University Heights, an auxiliary police officer tried to settle a line-cutting complaint without riling either side.
Each Papa John's location offering the deal in the Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown areas was prepared to sell more than 900 pies. Outlets were ordered to close early if, as expected, they ran out of pizzas.
In suburban Cleveland, people stood wrapped in blankets outside a store in Westlake and the line was two blocks long in University Heights.
``I did it for the principle of it. The principle of it is he's not a crybaby and Papa John's should not have gotten into it,'' Jennie Moore, 54, of University Heights, said as she waited for a pepperoni pizza.
Randall Hunter, 50, from Cleveland Heights, spent most of his four-hour split between bus driving shifts waiting for his pepperoni pizza. He defended James and what the All-Star forward said were flagrant fouls he received in the Washington series.
``You hit him in the face, you undercut him where he could really have an injury,'' Hunter said. ``He could be out the rest of the season.''
In Westlake, the line at one store snaked through the parking lot to the edge of the mini-mall and across a lawn along Detroit Road.
Patrick Mone, dressed in a blue LeBron James ``Witness'' T-shirt, was willing to wait as long as necessary for the bargain.
``It's worth it,'' he said. ``All the money is going to charity, and obviously, it's bringing new business to Papa John's. Even though there is a line, I think it's pretty cool ... 23 cents, you can't beat it.''
As he neared the store, Mone was amazed by the crowd.
``As I got closer, I was like, 'Oh, boy. This is going to be nuts.'''
Mone said he planned to chow down his slices Thursday afternoon, and not save the pizza for the Cavaliers' Game 2 against the Boston Celtics in the evening.
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AP Sports Writer Tom Withers contributed to this report.
 

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