LeBron thanks his fans in Akron (not Cleveland)


James took out a full-page advertisement in Tuesday’s Akron Beacon Journal, thanking fans in Akron and saying that the city will always be his home. The letter made no mention of Cleveland, or Cavaliers fans.

“For all my life, I have lived in Akron, and for that, I am truly a lucky man,” the letter read. “It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me.”

The ad appears on the back of the paper’s front section, and it comes a few days before James’ annual bike-a-thon in Akron, which gives hundreds of bikes to needy children in the city. Some had speculated that the event might be cancelled after LeBron’s decision to leave for Miami, but LeBron chose to continue with the bike-a-thon, although it has been scaled back because of the city’s budget woes.

Damage control…

I do believe it is important to LeBron that he repair his relationship with his hometown and that he doesn’t hold any such allegiance with the city of Cleveland. Akron has a population of 217,074 and is 39 miles south of Cleveland, so it’s a separate city in its own right. LeBron’s hope is that Akron won’t completely disown its prodigal son, and I doubt it will.

Like I said, damage control.

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ESPN removes story about LeBron’s party in Vegas

Basketball Player LeBron James hosts a night at Lavo on July 23, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV (Photo by DAP1 / Meet The Famous) Photo via Newscom

Arash Markazi attended a party ‘hosted’ by LeBron in Las Vegas and lived to tell the tale. Well, sort of. Shortly after the story was posted, the Worldwide Leader took it down.

Written by Arash Markazi of ESPN’s Los Angeles affiliate, the story recounted the author’s night out on the town with James and his entourage at the Tao nightclub at the Venetian hotel. While the majority of the piece, which is still online, contained several harmless vignettes such as finding James engaged in a dance off with Lamar Odom of the Los Angeles Lakers, a few parts cast the King in less than the best light.

According to Markazi, copious amounts of champagne and vodka flowed over the course of the evening, and scantily clad women – or in at least one case, nude women – cavorted around the player and his friends who did shots of tequila while waiters floating on wires serviced the table.

ESPN has issued a statement about the story:

“The story should have never been published,” wrote Josh Krulewitz of ESPN in a statement to SportsBusiness Daily. “The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”

You can read the entire story here. (Just click on the image and a bigger version should appear.)

I would describe it as detailed, honest and unflattering.

Update: SPORTSbyBROOKS has ESPN’s statement as well as a statement from Markazi.

“ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported.

We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.”


“I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.”

Well, the story is out there, and it might get more attention now that it would have had ESPN kept it published, but such is the current state of media.

Markazi was operating in a bit of a grey area. He didn’t identify himself as a reporter who was going to write a story about the night, so he saw a certain side of LeBron that he otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Should journalists be required to identify themselves? If he had, he likely would have been denied access to the full evening. Of course, Markazi likely got access to the party in the first place because he is a reasonably well-known writer.

The bottom line is that if LeBron doesn’t want to look like an a-hole, then he probably shouldn’t act like an a-hole when in public.

Drunk driver blames DUI on LeBron

Good find by The Last Angry Fan:

According to police reports, police stopped the driver, a 30-year-old Flint man, after watching his vehicle drift over the center line and the shoulder of the road at 2:40 a.m. July 11 on Maple Road near Maplebrook Apartments.

Police reported that the man appeared to be intoxicated. When asked if he’d been drinking the man said that he had been drinking, and it was because LeBron James had decided to play for the Miami Heat instead of the Boston Celtics (James had actually turned down an opportunity to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers).

A breath test revealed that the man’s alcohol level was 0.16 percent. The man was cited for driving while intoxicated. Police reports did not indicate if the man was taken to jail or released.

The original story is at MLive.

There are a couple of funny things about this story: 1) the man lives in Flint, but he claims to be a Cavs fan, not a Pistons fan, and 2) he was upset that LeBron was going to the Celtics, not the Heat. Dumb, da-dumb, dumb….DUMB!

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