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Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: November 2, 2011 11:17 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Shaq describes Cavaliers pampering LeBron

By Matt Moore

Shaquille O'Neal's biography may wind up being the best-selling basketball biography of all time, simply because he tells enough dirt to get sales to an obscene level. After describing in detail his feud with Kobe Bryant (including saying he was going to "kill him") the latest excerpt leaked talks about another of the three superstars Shaq played with since 2000. This time, it's LeBron James. HoopsWorld has the excerpt: 
LeBron was a huge star. He was as big as I was in 2000 in L.A. when I was dominating the league. … Our coach, Mike Brown, was a nice guy, but he had to live on edge because nobody was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron. Nobody wanted him to leave Cleveland, so he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.

I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn’t get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn’t say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, “Yo, Mo, we can’t have that. You’ve got to hustle a little more.” So Delonte West is sitting there and he’s seen enough and he stands up and says, “Hold up, now. You can’t be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us.” Mike Brown said, “I know, Delonte. I know.” Mike knew Delonte was right. …

I’m not sure if Kobe is going to listen to Mike Brown. LeBron never really did. Here’s what we do know: Kobe will definitely be in charge.
via NBA AM: Shaq Dishes on Kobe, LeBron | HOOPSWORLD | Basketball News & NBA Rumors.

This isn't a huge shocker, it was well known that Cleveland had let James do what he wanted in Cleveland prior to "The Decision" making the choice to leave in the manner he did all the more infuriating. But Mike Brown being rendered incompetent by management or ownership is a disturbing sign. Shaq's assertion that Bryant will run things in L.A. does overlook a pretty significant element, which is Jerry Buss' son Jim Buss being in charge, and looking to move away from the Phil Jackson era, which was Kobe-centric, as much as possible. Brown has said that the new offense will be focused on post play, which means Andrew Bynum, Jim Buss' favorite. Of course, that could just mean that the same problem Brown faced with LeBron in Cleveland could come into play with Bynum in L.A.

O'Neal also touches on Dwight Howard, bringing up the Superman thing again, and simultaneously insulting, challening, and sympathizing with Howard. Let me be yet another in a long line of people to wish O'Neal would drop the Superman thing. The iconic character has been around for over 60 years, Howard's physical makeup and personal ethos are much more in line with the alien superhero, and Howard's "Superman" dunk was a pretty iconic representation. The war is over, sir, you ar the Hall of Famer. Move on.

(HT: SLAM)
Posted on: November 1, 2011 12:15 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Video: LeBron James alone and violent

By Matt Moore

The Nike "Basketball Never Stops" spots are so good, we're pretty much going to keep running them. Why? Because it's almost like an NBA team's introduction video, and because it shows the stars doing basketball things, which we're pretty starved for at this point on what would have been opening night in the NBA. 

The new spot is a solo one for LeBron James, with Kevin Durant's expected later in the month. In the spot, James is on a rooftop, with the spotlight from the other video with him, KD, and Dirk. He goes through his workout as shots are interlaced of the city shutting down for then night while James keeps working. This of course requires a high degree of reality suspension since we're all patently aware of how much James likes to party. But whatever, it's a good spot with a good intent.

Also, the violence with which James dunks is still awe-inspiring. Must not have been the fourth quarter of his workout. Yes, I made the obligatory fourth-quarter joke. If the NBA's not going to give us games, I'm going to pander. It's my pander pout.  



Posted on: October 29, 2011 11:57 am
 

LeBron James, Kevin Durant star in new Nike ad

Posted by Ben Golliver



The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are up to their old tricks again, giving up on negotiations on Friday and cancelling two more weeks of the regular season.

Those developments only help reinforce the recurring message coming from the sneaker industry. It's not a particularly complicated message or an especially confrontational one, at least not yet. It basically boils down to "Professional basketball players enjoy playing professional basketball, no matter what," and here's the latest ad pushing that theme. 

The ad opens with the lights being turned off in an NBA stadium and then quickly transitions to a spotlight following Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, New York Knicks forward Dirk Nowitzki and other basketball players of all ages as they work on their games individually, play in late-night pick-up games, engage in pre-game celebrations, play three-on-three in the drive way, see which players made the cut list and play some pop-a-shot.

The symbolism isn't complicated: basketball and its players shine wherever the sport goes, even if the NBA is locked out and the stadiums are dark. The ad's tagline -- "Basketball Never Stops" -- has been used as a slogan throughout the lockout when James, Durant and others have played on the exhibition game circuit and it works in tandem with Jordan Brand's recent "Love The Game" spot which features Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony playing in pick-up and intramural games throughout the country.

Nike's ad winds up being a bit more serious than Jordan's, which had a few humorous touches, but it fits the athletes depicted and it's dealing with a serious and touchy subject. James is, theoretically, focused on a quest for redemption. Durant is a stone-faced killer whenever he takes the court. Nowitzki has a goofy side, but he takes preparation and execution as seriously as anybody. Stoudemire feels a bit like a toss-in, but he's getting old and taking on new burdens as one of the faces of the improved Knicks, so it's not a total stretch.  

Video via YouTube user NikeBasketball 
Posted on: October 28, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 8:16 pm
 

NBA superstars World All-Star Classic implodes

Posted by Ben Golliver

kobe-bryant-plane

A much-ballyhooed world basketball tour featuring an array of NBA superstars clung to life this week, before ultimately succumbing to a merciful death on Friday afternoon.

Just hours after labor negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Asssociation broke down, multiple reports surfaced that the World All-Star Classic, an exhibition game featuring 14 NBA stars set to be played in Puerto Rico this Sunday, would be cancelled.

Yahoo reported that this weekend's game was cancelled because "organizer can't deliver players." ESPN.com reported that the game in Puerto Rico has been indefinitely postponed.

The Puerto Rico game was all that remained from the hyped World All-Star Tour, a six-game, four-continent tour that was said to include stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant.

On Wednesday, the tour melted down to a one-game exhibition in Puerto Rico after word surfaced that James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul had all withdrawn their names from the tour. While Bryant and Durant continued to say that they would be participating in the tour after James and company pulled out, the event apparently couldn't keep it together.

The World All-Star Classic will go down as another eyesore for NBA players, who have run a number of successful charity games during the lockout but have, by and large, failed to monetize their talent. A "Lockout League" held in Las Vegas drew scant crowds, and even the exhibition game circuit has had to deal with last-minute no-shows and scheduling concerns.

This would all be water under the bridge if the NBA and the players had reached a handshake deal on Friday, but that didn't happen. Instead, there will be no NBA games through the end of November and only a scattered collection of charity exhibitions to fill the void.

The league's superstars had a real opportunity to showcase their talents internationally and to prove their marketability here. Instead, the lockout continues and fans are forced to continue to cope with a basketball blackout.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 2:48 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 3:18 pm
 

LeBron hits the recruiting trail on Twitter

Posted by Royce Young

If all this positive lockout talk is real, LeBron James better get his recruiting done quickly. Because he won't be able to (publicly) tamper after that.

LeBron took to Twitter Thursday and randomly dropped tweets about hoping to see Jamal Crawford -- a free agent -- and Steve Nash -- not a free agent -- in a Heat uniform.




Evidently, LeBron doesn't understand salary caps and all that stuff. Because not only is it pretty much impossible for either Crawford or Nash to join the Heat, but with a new NBA system, it might not even be possible for LeBron to keep Chris Bosh.

Let's fantasize though. How would Nash play alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron? Nash is primarily a pick-and-roll point guard that prefers a lot of good movement off the ball. That's not exactly something LeBron excells at. If Nash joined LeBron and Wade, the team would have a bunch of offensive ability, but in terms of how they'd play together, it might take another full season to figure that out.

The ONLY way the Heat could trade for Nash under the current cap rules would be a deal involving LeBron, Wade or Bosh. Everyone just had a quick min-debate in their head about "Nash for Bosh?" but the answer is no.

It is possible though, but not at all likely, that Phoenix settle a buyout with Nash that would free him to try and win a title once the lockout ends or maybe with the amnesty clause. Good luck getting Robert Sarver to do that though.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 5:04 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2011 10:30 pm
 

LeBron James, other stars bail on world tour

Posted by Ben Golliverlebron-james-uk

It sounded too good to be true, didn't it?

A full galaxy of NBA stars travelling the globe to bring basketball to all corners of the Earth during the biggest hoops drought in a decade?

As recently as a few hours ago, plans were reportedly all set for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and a host of other NBA stars to make a six-game tour that would have included stops in Puerto Rico, England and Australia.

Unfortunately, multiple reports broke on Wednesday afternoon that many of the biggest names would not actually be participating.

Although his name was mentioned by tour organizers, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that James "not only won't be part of NBA world tour but had never committed to [the] project in [the] first place." 

Shortly thereafter, ESPN.com reported that James, Anthony and Paul had all chosen not to participate. HoopsWorld.com then reminded everyone that Rose and Westbrook were recent scratches too.

I guess if you're going to fail, fail big.

Update: The Sun Sentinel reports Wednesday night that the world tour has been repackaged as a one-game exhibition in Puerto Rico, starring Bryant, Durant, Stoudemire, Bosh, Dwyane Wade, Diwght Howard, Blake Griffin, Chris Kaman, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Carlos Boozer and Tyson Chandler.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 10:40 am
 

Even now, Michael Jordan wins



By Matt Moore


You have to understand, it was the culmination of the right player at the right time with the right approach and the right management. When Michael Jordan entered our collective consciousness, we treat it as some fairytale story, right down to the details of getting cut from his varsity team. But in reality, it was the perfect combination of factors that lead to what became the juggernaut/behemoth/gargantuan cash machine Jordan is today. And man, is he still ever one. 

From Forbes:
Yet even out of the spotlight, the business of Michael Jordan has never been better. We estimate that Jordan earned $60 million over the past year mainly through his endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances. He also owns five restaurants and a car dealership in North Carolina. His annual earnings are greater than any other sports figure save Tiger Woods who topped our world’s highest-paid athletes this year.

At Jordan’s peak during his playing career, he was making $50 million off the court through sponsorships. He also banked $63 million in combined salary during his last two years with the Bulls.
via The Business Of Michael Jordan Is Booming - Forbes.

Jordan makes more today, fourteen years after the Bulls' last championship, than he did from his on-court salary when he played. When you hear players talk about being underpaid? That's got to be part of their thinking. But again, Jordan was the right player at the right time. It's undeniable that Jordan was the greatest basketball player that has ever played the game. Hate stats and love winning? Six championships, thank you and goodnight. Love metrics and want an unclouded analysis? Jordan had four of the top ten PER seasons of all time, and his scoring stats are through the roof. But he also was the perfect athlete for Nike to launch his own brand under, an idea never before heard of and never since replicated adequately. 

His myth propels him forward. From Gatorade to Hanes to the newest deal with 2K Sports, Jordan doesn't just do appearances as an athlete anymore, he does endorsements and media appearances as Michael Jordan. His image, like his game, has actually transcended himself. Which is amazing, because he was the best basketball player ever as well as the most marketable athlete in history. The idea of him is just as popular as the reality was. 

And that reality? It was protected. Jordan entered into the mainstream at a time when you could push his image to millions through television, magazines, billboards, and newspapers, but the internet didn't exist. You could exert perfect control. Post-game press conferences weren't televised live on NBA TV or ESPN. Cell phones didn't exist, much less camera phones to record Jordan during his prolific partying and gambling days. And even now, the effect that the idea of Jordan had on kids who grew up worshipping him, most of whom now occupy these same media and blog spaces you're reading at this moment, has caused a certain level of protection. Jordan's not only far from perfect, he's probably a little on the far side of the likeable line, if we're really going to approach his personality. But he's protected by media, and the fans, to be sure (nobody wants Jordan revealed, torn down, desecrated like modern athletes, and media's happy to oblige), because of the image they gave him. 

Consider this, from the same Forbes article, on his popularity.
Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research produce an N-Score for celebrities that measures appeal, likability and awareness. No athlete comes close to matching MJ’s stats who has an N-Score of 682, nearly 300 points higher than any other sports figure. His 71% awareness is among the highest in sports (only Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson and Mike Tyson rank higher and not necessarily for the right reasons). His personality attributes score off the charts and he rates as being liked by 93% of people surveyed. Compare that to LeBron James who 49% of respondents say they dislike.
via The Business Of Michael Jordan Is Booming - Forbes.

Think about that. More than nine out of ten people like Michael Jordan, despite the gambling and the drinking and the mom jeans, and the Hall of Fame speech, and the fact that he beat the crap out of teammates and psychologically destroyed Kwame Brown. None of this can even touch him. Because he entered our consciousness at the perfect moment, was weilded by those who market to the fullest degree, and managed to duck anything which could forever scar him. No Tiger Woods car wreck incidents to kick off a fervor, and the media/papparazzi didn't hound then like it does now. There's not the ability for a poorly worded comment in a post-game presser to speed through Twitter instantly and become a story the next day. 

Among the hundreds of reasons why the LeBron James-Michael Jordan comparisons are pointless (they play different positions with different skillsets; Jordan, accurately or not, is perceived as a winner in retrospect despite not having won a championship when he was James' age; no one is ever going to cede that title to Kobe or anyone else because of the aforementioned deification complex we have as a society with Jordan, he's our sacred cow we continue to milk; and, oh, yeah, Jordan really was a better player) lies this:  James' personality could never have been Jordan's. Not because LeBron is arrogant. Come on, take one look at everything you know about Jordan and tell me he's humble. But because James operates in a cultural sphere that is faster, more ubiquitious, more diverse than ever. And worse than that, James is aware of the scope of who's listening to and watching him. That self-awareness drives both his arrogance and his anxiety about being popular. In the presser after Game 6 when LeBron spoke the famous lines everyone hates him for about people and their lives (which came off as "you little people"-ish), he had just gotten through saying "I failed." That's what we all needed to hear. But James keeps talking, trying to get people to like him.

Jordan never cared if you liked him as long as you worshipped him. Particularly with your wallet.

When James was named the top player by three different media entities, most recently by ESPN, the ruckus was enough to wake a coma patient. Several writers actually cashed in on criticizing the entities for saying that, and parlayed themselves as writers of the people. Unfortunately, if you actually spend your nights watching each game, if you devote the time these experts have taken to knowing and understanding the game every night, if you're not just chasing the top headlines and scribbling your thoughts based on a SportsCenter highlight package or a handful of games, you don't come to any other conclusion. It doesn't erase James' failings in the fourth quarter in the Finals or the absurd idiocy of "The Decision," nor does it make him likeable. He's not. But it does make him the best basketball player currently playing the game.

Not only will James never be Jordan, even if his career follows a similar career arc, with the winning after age 26 and the multiple titles and all, but James will always be the polar opposite of Jordan. Jordan was born into the perfect environment for society to deify him, to raise him up, and he was the perfect player to do that with. The jumper, the dunk, the tongue wag, the shrug, the fist pump, the political savvy to understand the importance of not being involved politically, the smile. He was the right player at the right time, in the right way, and it continues to pay off for Jordan. LeBron? LeBron will make some of the money. He'll get some of the glory. But he won't ever be that. 

Wrong guy, wrong time, wrong place.

The era of deification is over, even if we're all still paying our tithe at the Temple of MJ.

(HT: TrueHoopNetwork for a discussion of Jordan v. Internet 2011 through email.) 
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:26 pm
 

Report: NBA stars planning overseas tour

Posted by Royce Young

I think we can all agree that the charity hoops circuit is a little played out. NBA fans are ready for real basketball. From Washington D.C. to Philadelphia to Miami to Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, fans have seen their stars play glorified pickup games. It's getting a little old now.

So the players have recognized that and are taking the next step: They're taking their talents overseas.

No, not to play professionally. They're taking their charity games on tour. Via ESPN.com:
While the final details are still being worked out, more than a dozen of the league's best players are working to join forces on what would be a two-week, six-game, three-continent blockbuster tour, sources said.

In a trip that could resemble Team USA's takeover of the world stage at the 2008 Beijing Games, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce and Kevin Love are among the players expected to participate. Kevin Durant and Kevin Garnett, among a few others, are also contemplating joining the tour.

The tour is planned to take two weeks and has been in construction for some three months by Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden. While some players have actually reportedly signed contracts to play in this, there's a chance it could fall apart. One major reason being if a labor deal is worked out.

The tour is scheduled to start Oct. 30 and go through Nov. 9 with stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia. Each game will be held in arenas with at least 15,000 seats. There's a hope to air the games internationally as well as in the U.S. too.

Here's the kicker: The players will make some bank off this too. The report says players will receive somewhere between a six-figure payout and $1 million. "Some" of the money will go to charity.

Here's to hoping the whole thing falls apart because the players are in training camp by then.
 
 
 
 
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