Well that was rude, LeBron

I know he didn’t shoot up a strip club, run over somebody with his car or get caught financing an underground dog fighting operation, but “King” LeBron was still an a-hole to this ball boy:

Someone should remind LeBron that he has as many championship rings as the ball boy.

And that would be 0.

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What LeBron really meant in his first post-playoff interview

Back in the good ol’ days, athletes used to speak their mind when someone put a microphone in front of them. Players would get into trouble for the things they said, so as time goes on, they’ve become more and more careful about not offending anyone. Some guys even hire publicists to teach them how to interact with the media. This has led to virtually all player/reporter interactions to be completely sanitized of any possibly controversial material.

As a former college player, I’ve been interviewed by a few reporters in my day, and watching one of the best (Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan), I learned how to sound like I was saying something when I was actually saying nothing. I did it out of pure fear — I didn’t want Bo waking up the next day to see that his small forward had said something stupid or controversial to a reporter.

While listening to LeBron’s first post-playoff interview the other day [video], it occurred to me that he was talking a lot, but wasn’t actually saying much of anything. There were a lot of platitudes — he needed to get better over the summer, that he loves playing in Cleveland, etc. — but the interview was seemingly absent of honest opinion or revelation.

So here is LeBron’s transcribed interview, along with my translation of what he really said when he wasn’t saying anything…

Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging the Bloggers: Cheerleader pranks, fragile baseball players & Jeff Van Gundy

AWFUL ANNOUNCING says that Jeff Van Gundy is making it no secret that he’s rooting for the Magic in the Finals.

SPORTSbyBROOKS has the lowdown on the three Texas high school cheerleaders who decided to pull a prank on one of their classmates by crapping in a sock and then smearing it in the victim’s locker. Man, high schoolers are really turning up the notch on pranks these days. I remember when knocking books out of the hands of unsuspecting schoolmates while they were walking down the hall was considered cruel. Now we’ve got kids crapping in socks and smearing it lockers…yikes.

THE LOVE OF SPORTS compiles a list of five athletes they’d like to share a meal with and details how the conversation would play out.

– In wake of Cardinals’ shortstop Kahlil Greene being placed on the DL with “social anxiety disorder”, (the third major leaguer to miss time with this complaint) DEADSPIN tries to get to the bottom of what is wrong with our fragile baseball players.

YARDBARKER details 100 things that NBA commissioner David Stern would enjoy more than a LeBron-less Finals.

Say goodbye to LeBron, Cleveland

Braylon Edwards speaketh the truth:

“LeBron (James) isn’t a Cleveland guy. LeBron only plays for the Cavaliers, and who knows if he even likes the Cavaliers? He doesn’t like the Indians. He doesn’t like the Browns.”

The Browns receiver made his comments after LeBron James hung out on the Dallas sidelines during pregame warmups prior to the Cowboys/Browns game Sunday afternoon, hugging Terrell Owens and Adam “Don’t Call Me Pacman” Jones, chatting with owner Jerry Jones, and wearing a Yankees cap.

Of course, it was a Yankees cap that first had people questioning LeBron’s loyalty to his hometown. As a (tortured) Cleveland fan, I was pretty fired up when LeBron wore a Yankees hat to Jacobs Field for the Indians’ opening playoff game against the Yanks last year:

Cleveland is most definitely a football city, but LeBron is without question the face of Cleveland sports right now. That doesn’t mean that he has to root for every Cleveland sports franchise, but he crossed the line when he wore a Yankees hat to the game last night. That’d be like David Ortiz donning a Peyton Manning jersey during a Colts/Pats game in New England or, even worse, Tom Brady wearing a Yankees hat to a Sox/Yankees game at Fenway. You just don’t do it.

At the time, what irked me most wasn’t that LeBron wore the hat to the game, but that he taunted the fans — who are, of course, his fans during basketball season — by holding the hat above his head and egging on the crowd. It was an immature and classless move, and at the time I said that it spoke very poorly of his so-called loyalties to his hometown.

And now this.

As I mentioned previously, athletes are fans too, and they can root for whomever they want. I’m not ragging on LeBron for being a Cowboys fan or a Yankees fan or even a Bulls fan, all of whom he rooted for as a kid growing up in Akron. I do think it’s fair to call him a frontrunner, since all three of those teams were winning titles back then, but that’s not the point.

In fact, LeBron choosing to publicize his allegiances in front of Cleveland fans and, in the Indians/Yankees case, even taunting the fans in the process, isn’t even the point anymore. The point now, as Braylon Edwards pointed out, is simple: LeBron James isn’t a Cleveland guy. And that’s very bad news for the Cavaliers and their fans.

LeBron can opt out of his contract after the 2009-10 season, at which point the Cavaliers will be able to offer the star forward more money than any other team in the league. That may sound like a big advantage for the Cavs, and maybe it will prove to be. But working against Cleveland is the fact that LeBron’s contract with Nike will reportedly pay him more if he moves to a larger market like New York or LA. Maybe that’s just a rumor, because I haven’t found any concrete numbers on this, but it’s a widely reported rumor that LeBron has never bothered to shoot down. Add on top of that the fact that LeBron would make even more money in endorsements playing in a big city while also inflating his already enormous worldwide popularity, and however many more millions the Cavaliers can offer LeBron will look like chump change in the final equation.

And then, of course, there’s LeBron’s buddy Jay-Z, who just happens to be part owner of the New Jersey Nets. The Nets just happened to shed a bunch of salary by trading Richard Jefferson this offseason. They also just happen to be planning to move to Brooklyn and open a brand new arena in 2010. And Brooklyn just happens to be LeBron’s “favorite borough” in his favorite city of New York.

Throughout all of this city-wide “will he stay or will he go?” fretting, the one ace the fans thought they had up their sleeve was the fact that LeBron was a hometown guy who actually wanted to stay in Cleveland. Well, I’m not buying it, and neither is Braylon Edwards:

“He’s a guy from Akron who likes everybody but his hometown. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it is what it is, and he is who he is. You know, it’s LeBron.”

Preach on, Braylon.

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