Rearview mirror: LeBron-mania reaches its zenith in Trenton

(Note: I originally wrote this during the fall in conjunction with the release of “More than a Game,” but while writing about the Primetime Shootout this weekend, I grew nostalgic for the greatest high school performance I had ever seen at the 2003 Shootout. I usually don’t re-up posts, but indulge me here. Stuff’s about to get crazy with LeBron as July 1, 2010 approaches, but I contend that this game in Trenton was a snapshot in time that will never be duplicated.)

Like a comet streaking across the sky There’s a movie that came out in theaters this weekend that I can’t wait to see. It has extra meaning to me and I find it particularly inspirational. I’d go as far as to go on record and say it’s the feel-good movie of the season.

Obviously, I’m talking about Zombieland, with the great Woody Harrelson.

Woody Harrelson: The man never makes a bad movie, word to Natural Born Killers Okay, I admit, I’m just kidding. Though I do plan to see Zombieland, I’m referring more to More than a Game, the documentary chronicling St. Vincent-St. Mary’s, the high school team that featured a young man named LeBron James. Considering my personal experience with that era of his life, the movie holds extra meaning to me.

As you may have noticed, this site has covered LeBron pretty closely – from his impending cataclysmic free agency, to his relationship with rappers, to his complete dominance of the media. Well, that’s not new. Long before SportsAngle’s hiatus, when LeBron was still technically in high school, we decided to follow him every step of the way.

Continue Reading

LeBron Tips His Hand…?

ESPN is reporting that in an effort to lure Trevor Ariza to the Cavs, LeBron James told him he’d stay with the Cavaliers past this coming year. Ariza, like me, was not convinced, and will likely sign with Houston, I hear to be closer to his kid, who lives in Los Angeles, California. (Which begs the question… isn’t Los Angeles even closer to Los Angeles?) And also, he says, because of the opportunity to grow as a player, which he apparently can’t do on the title-contending Lakers or Cavs.lebron-james-usa-beijing

Sidebar: When did Trevor Ariza turn into Scottie Pippen? I actually like Ariza, I know he plays some D, and I know he had a very nice playoff run for the Lakers. But how about we see him score nine points a game before someone gives him $33 million, as the Rockets are? Because he’s topped out at 8.9. At least he’s done that twice.

Regardless, I find it hard to believe that LeBron would throw away his opportunity to have the eyes of the sports world exclusively on him next year to get Trevor Ariza. Maybe Ben Gordon, but not Ariza, no matter how much he enjoyed torching him for 50 in high school. Even if he has no intentions of leaving Cleveland — and honestly, who knows what his intentions are? — I can’t see him being that desperate as to tell Ariza that he’s not going anywhere as a sales pitch. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, it just seems fishy.

Of course, he might not have expected this information to get out via some “source.” In which case, it kind of makes this commercial teasing the massive ensuing marketing campaign ring a little hollow. LeBron James wants to be a Global Icon. (His words, not mine.) So why would he risk it getting out that the upcoming 2010 sweepstakes, in which he’d be the most coveted free agent since some guy named Michael Jordan? Of course, the Knicks desperately hope things will go different with LeBron than they did with Jordan.

The point is, if LeBron really said this, and meant it, it’s a surprising misstep for an extremely savvy and image-conscious budding captain of industry. I’m a little surprised he’s shown his cards, if that truly is what he’s done here, but it’s also sending a message to the Cavs loud and clear: “We’re not good enough.” If it’s that important to him to get Trevor Ariza, I wouldn’t expect him to want to stay there if he doesn’t feel that their chances have improved.

In summation, I think what you can read into this is that if LeBron feels he has a championship-caliber team around him at the end of next season, a team with a future, he probably wants to stay there. But if he’s perceiving that GM Danny Ferry can’t get the job done, you’re going to be seeing him at Marquee starting July 2010.


Predictably, LeBron’s people are now denying that he had a conversation with Ariza. So if Ariza’s people lied — which I’m not sure they did — it’d be to pump up his value and reputation by making it seem like LeBron was recruiting him. Regardless of whether its true, that would be why they leaked it. It’s not a shock that LeBron is denying it for the reasons I detailed above, that he wouldn’t want to cut out the legs from under his upcoming major media blitz.

Maybe he truly does want to stay there, maybe he wants to keep his options open. Maybe he just wants people to think he’s keeping his options open. Nobody really knows. My guess is he’s going to stay there, but there really is no way to know for sure right now.