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Category: LeBron James

LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant for NBA's most popular jersey

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LeBron James may not be the most popular guy in the NBA, but he wears the most popular jersey.

James' No. 6 Miami Heat jersey is the league's top seller for 2010-11, based on sales on NBAStore.com since the start of the season. The superstar, who switched teams and numbers before the season started, replaces the Lakers' Kobe Bryant at the top of the list.

Bryant drops to No. 2 after two years on top. James is No. 1 for the first time since his rookie season in 2004.

The Boston Celtics have five players in the top 15, with Rajon Rondo at No. 3 and Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett taking the 12-15 spots. Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, both new members of the New York Knicks, are fourth and eighth, respectively.

ALSO:

Lakers' Kobe Bryant says his anti-gay slur 'should not be taken literally'

Lakers end losing streak, but there's plenty of bad news mixed in with the good

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: LeBron James. Credit: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

LeBron James sees the light and buys a piece of Liverpool -- the soccer club, not the city

Lixi56nc When he is not fretting about the antics of his mother (see earlier post), LeBron James apparently spends a good deal of time checking his portfolio.

That portfolio has grown in an interesting fashion of late with the news that the Miami Heat player has managed to buy himself a piece of Liverpool FC. In other words, the NBA's James now owns a little bit of one of the English Premier League's highest-profile teams.

"The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman," James told the Wall Street Journal. "This is a great opportunity for me."

The 26-year-old gained a minority interest in the 18-time English champion and five-time European champion when his marketing firm reached an agreement with the Fenway Sports Group, owner of Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox, to represent James internationally.

How soon James will show up at Anfield to watch a Liverpool game is uncertain, but his ownership status does give him an edge over another of the NBA's soccer fans, Lakers guard and avid FC Barcelona supporter Kobe Bryant.

Liverpool, meanwhile, announced Thursday that it will go on a preseason tour of Asia this summer, playing games in Guangzhou, China; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Seoul, South Korea, in July.

ALSO:

Neymar unmasks the stupid side of soccer's rules on goal celebrations

Leaving Juan Agudelo off roster costs U.S. its place in Under-20 World Cup

--Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Miami Heat small forward LeBron James warms up before the game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. March 30, 2011. Credit: Chuck Myers/MCT

LeBron James' mother arrested in Miami

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Lebron James' mother, Gloria  James, was arrested early Thursday by Miami Beach police after she reportedly assaulted a valet worker.

A source told People that James swung her purse at Sorel Rockfeller, the man who brought her car, after she was told her keys were in the car but couldn't be found. The source said James missed him with her bag, but, a minute later, proceeded to slap his face.

Police said James' breath smelled of alcohol and her eyes were bloodshot when they arrived around 5 a.m. at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where she reportedly had been partying with her girlfriends.

James was taken into custody and was ordered to appear on charges of simple battery and disorderly conduct. According to a police report, she was later released to Miami Heat executive Steve Stowe.

This is not the first time that James has been in trouble with the law. In 2006, she pleaded no contest to a DUI charge.

James raised LeBron James, 26, as a single mother. The Miami Heat superstar has "Queen James" tattooed in her honor.

MORE:

More triple-trouble for Lakers in loss to Golden State

Stu Lantz is expected to return for 25th season as TV color commentator

-- Melissa Rohlin

Photo: Gloria James. Credit: Phil Long / Associated Press.

Question of the Day: Michael Jordan has made his choice for NBA MVP; who's yours?

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Writers from around Tribune Co. make their MVP selections following Michael Jordan saying Wednesday that Derrick Rose should receive the honor. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment with your pick.

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Have you seen what Dwight Howard has been surrounded by this season? Two distinct packages of second-tier riffraff.

Say what you want about Derrick Rose's leadership and productivity this season, but it's not as if Howard has anything close to Carlos Boozer or Joakim Noah alongside.

Instead, Howard has kept the Magic afloat while playing with some of the most erratic talent in the NBA, first Vince Carter and Rashard Lewis, and now Hedo Turkoglu and Gilbert Arenas. And it's not as if Stan Van Gundy has been the most stabilizing of forces.

Take away any of the Heat's Big Three and that still is a playoff team. Without Rose, the Bulls still could avoid lottery.

But the Magic without Dwight? Just the image should settle any debate about most valuable.

[Updated at 9:40 a.m.

Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

It's a weird year at the MVP ballot box.
 
There are Super Teams, whose stars tend to split votes. (See San Antonio, Boston and Miami).
 
There are old favorites (Kobe and Dirk). There's the current league darling (Derrick Rose), who followed the last league darling (Kevin Durant).
 
And there's always the one guy whose supporting cast hasn't lent enough balloons and bunting to his candidacy (Dwight Howard.)
 
So I say it's still a tad early to decide. What's the rush?
 
I want to see the stars in the stretch run, but my leading candidates are: Rose, LeBron, Howard and Kobe.
 
Rose has revived the Bulls. LeBron changed the entire East. Nobody has done more with less than Howard. Voters should feel guilty Kobe has won the MVP only once.]

Photo: Derrick Rose. Credit: Sam Sharpe / US Presswire

Question of the Day: If the Miami Heat want to win it all, do they need to make a move, or can they stand pat?

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Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

News flash: No team is going to help the Heat. So making a trade, particularly with limited assets, will prove difficult. Just look how much former No. 2 pick Michael Beasley fetched last summer. Granted, the Heat were in clear-the-cap mode. But the point is: When you pull off the unprecedented landing of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in one summer, that's your team for the next season. Frankly, adding the parts Pat Riley did---Mike Miller and the re-signing of Udonis Haslem---was remarkable. Riley knew, at least for this season, he'd sink or swim with this group. It still says here he'll sink---in a thrilling playoff loss to the Celtics. Then, some more maneuvering can follow.

[Updated at 10:47 a.m.

Shandel Richardson, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has been asked this question all season long. When responding, he always gives the same answer: "I think we have enough."

Spoelstra should quit thinking and just say the Heat has enough. The question has resurfaced because Miami has lost four straight games. Never mind that the Heat won 21 of the 22 previous games. This is the Heat, and every stretch of the season is analyzed like college football by fans and media. A few midseason losses won't keep the Heat from playing in a major bowl.

So Miami has hit a few bumps recently. It happens. Just ask the Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, yet no one seems to question if those teams need more.

The Heat have plenty right now. They have dealt with chemistry issues since the team was formed. Adding to the roster would only destroy the progress they've already made.]

[Updated at 11:55 a.m.

Mark Heisler, Los Angeles Times

The Heat definitely need a 7-foot, shot-blocking center who hits the occasional shot and takes the occasional rebound, as opposed to Joel Anthony, who blocks shots but doesn't do much else, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who makes shots but doesn't do much else.

Now if they can just find someone to donate one!

With three superduperstars and nine role players, the Heat have no other players anyone wants, so Pat Riley won't able to make big moves via trades.

Finding a free agent to come for less money -- after the season -- is something else. Almost the entire roster took less to be there this season and, with their future assured -- and South Beach too! --the dynamic should remain in place for years.

We've already seen how good this team can be, not because of its offensive prowess, which is all anybody talks about, but because it's so good in its defensive scheme. 

Add in one big guy and everyone will really be in trouble. Happily for the rest of the league, that may take a while.]

Photo: Miami Heat players talk during a game against the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 27. Credit: Matthew Emmons / US Presswire

LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: Clippers beat the Heat, 111-105

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Blake Griffin
scored to open the fourth, then left the game and was getting stretching treatment on the sideline. With Griffin on his back, Ike Diogu scored after a scramble under the Clippers' basket to make it 94-82, leading to a Miami timeout with 8:38 to play.

The crowd of 19,803, the team's fourth sellout of the season, sensed something special. Of course, there was plenty of time left for all sorts of things to happen, and they did. Griffin returned to the game off the timeout.

  LeBron James' turnaround cut L.A.'s lead to eight and Dwyane Wade's pullup jumper after a Griffin miss made it six. Griffin turned it over again, trapped under the hoop. LebronJames made another shot from the corner to make it 94-92, but James began limping after the shot. Wade was also shaken up on the play. The Clippers, fading quickly, called timeout with 6:35 to play. James and Wade returned to play after the timeout.

After the teams traded threes, Griffin drove the left side for a bank shot and a four-point lead, then Baron Davisdrove the length of the court to push it to six, 101-95. Lawler's Law?

With 4:16 to play, Davis drove the lane again, lost the ball, then recovered and shoveled it to Griffin, who thundered down a dunk for a 103-95 lead and a Miami timeout. All 19,803 stood through the timeout.

James' putback after another scramble reduced the lead to six.

Davis' running jumper made it 107-99. A minute remained.

James brought the ball down court, drove, was swarmed and passed out to Chris Bosh, who missed. Griffin corraled his 14th rebound and Miami was reduced to fouling, as the Clippers called timeout with 38 seconds to play.

The crowd chanted "Beat the Heat, Beat the Heat," and the Clippers called another timeout before inbounding the ball. No one said it would be easy.

Randy Foye went to the line after a quick Miami foul and made one of two, 108-99, Miami timeout. Davis to the line with 26.9 left, and missed both.

James then went end-to-end and was fouled on his made layup, made it and it was a six-point game. Then Eric Gordon to the line with 14.2 left. He missed the first but made the second to make it a three-possession game.   Bosh made a quick three and Gordon returned to the line, making both with 9.9 to go. When James missed from the top of the key, it was over, 111-105.

Griffin: 24 points, 14 rebounds, six assists.

James: 27-8-5.

Wade led all scorers with 31 and Bosh had 26. Gordon had 24 and Davis 20 for the Clippers.

RELATED:

LeBron James gets a rise out of opposing fans

Clippers have a slam-dunk success in Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin backs up LeBron's decision to leave Cleveland

--Mike James

Top photo: Blake Griffin slam dunks against the Miami Heat during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, California, January 12, 2011. Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Second photo: Dwyane Wade #3 and LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat wait to shoot a free throw during a 111-105 Los Angeles Clippers win at the Staples Center on January 12, 2011. Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: 3rd quarter, Clippers hanging on, 86-78

Lebron1 LeBron James and Blake Griffin were essentially even through two periods, the difference in the game being Griffin's teammates. The third quarter, of course, is traditionally a watershed moment for the Clippers ... and it's often a problem-filled 12 minutes. 

Griffin got the Clippers off on the right foot with a putback basket, though he missed the free throw after being fouled.

Griffin drove the lane with 8:27 to play and Zydrunas Ilgauskas hit him in the face for a flagrant 1 foul. Griffin made one of two free throws, as is often the case in one of the few so-so elements of his game.

The Clippers then went cold, and Chris Bosh, with just over seven minutes left, made two free throws to cut the lead to 73-67. The specter of a Clippers collapse loomed, and they called a timeout with 6:13 left, holding onto what appeared to be a very tenuous five-point lead.

James threw down an alley-oop dunk and Dwyane Wade's two free throws suddenly made it a three-point game as the Clippers' offense devolved into one-on-one basketball. (Sound familiar, Clippers fans?) James helped the Clippers' cause a bit with two missed free throws that could have made it a one-point game, then on the next possession threw up an airball on a largely uncontested 18-footer. Eric Gordon's subsequent drive pushed the Clippers' lead back to seven, 82-75.

Gordon began taking over with another drive to push the lead back to nine in the closing two minutes.

Score after three: Clippers 86, Heat 78.

Griffin: 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, for his 24th consecutive double-double.

James: 17-8-5.

RELATED:

LeBron James gets a rise out of opposing fans

Clippers have a slam-dunk success in Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin backs up LeBron's decision to leave Cleveland

--Mike James

Photo: LeBron James shoots over Blake Griffin. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

 

LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: 2nd quarter heats up. Clippers lead, 68-58

Lebron1 Blake Griffin's drive and basket pushed the Clippers' lead to 20 points, 51-31, early in the third, but this game has largely featured the other Clippers, who have been doing most of the scoring. All eight Clippers who played in the first quarter scored. Dwyane Wade is carrying the Heat with 14 points after five minutes of the second.

LeBron James sat for the first five minutes of the quarter and returned to the game to a prolonged boo from the crowd, with the Clippers leading, 55-38. The Clippers have done a good job of sealing off the lane when James has tried to drive.

Griffin's runaway-train drive on the baseline and reverse layup failed to go down, but he made both free throws after being fouled. The Times' NBA guru Mark Heisler, who has seen, oh, 5,000 NBA games, said, "I think he's the most exciting player I've ever seen."

Shortly after that, Griffin canned a 12-foot banker from the left side.

James' three-pointer with four minutes left cut the Clippers' lead to 62-48. You didn't think the Clippers were going to run away from this team, did you?

Continue reading »

LeBron James vs. Blake Griffin: 1st quarter goes to Griffin

Blakeblog1 The Clippers historically haven't had matchups like this one, but LeBron James (25.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists) against Blake Griffin (21.8, 12.6 and 3.3) is one of those midseason bonuses  that feature two highlight videos waiting to happen.

Griffin, being guarded by Chris Bosh, scored first on a move down the lane a minute and a half into the game. Griffin opened the game guarding center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

With 7:35 left, Griffin went down hard on a baseline drive after tripping, got up and made his standard one of two free throws. On the next possession, Griffin took a feed from Eric Gordon, drove the lane, made the basket and was fouled, completing the three-point play. James hadn't yet worked his way into the offensive flow for the Heat.

Then coming out of a timeout, with 5:30 left, James hit a jumper from the corner for his first two points.

With 3:20 to go, Baron Davis trief to feed Griffin on a breakaway and the first 'SportsCenter' highlight was teed up.  Griffin, unfortunately had the dunk virtually completed before he caught the ball and ended up with a turnover.

James finally arrived with a minute and a half left, with a spinning drive and dunk, the first electric play for the two superstars. The next possession James drove and scored on Griffin, and James worked for the last shot before Griffin stole the ball and fed Gordon for a basket and a 44-26 lead.

The Clippers moved the ball better, played better defense and dominated the first 12 minutes.

Griffin: six points, three rebounds, three assists.

James: seven points, one rebound, two assists.

RELATED:

LeBron James gets a rise out of opposing fans

Clippers have a slam-dunk success in Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin backs up LeBron's decision to leave Cleveland

--Mike James

Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S. Presswire

LeBron James references karma in Twitter post during Cavs' lopsided loss to Lakers

Lebron_400 They had it coming. That's basically what LeBron James seemed to be saying on Twitter about his former team's 55-point loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night.

While the Cleveland Cavaliers were getting trounced 112-57 at Staples Center, James tweeted: "Crazy. Karma is a ... . Gets you every time. Its not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"

He seemed to be saying the Cleveland Cavaliers deserved the humiliating loss because of the way James was treated after he took his talents from Cleveland to the Miami Heat in July.

Notable was James' apparent reference to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's letter to Cleveland fans that questioned James' character and mentioned "bad karma."

It was the most lopsided loss ever for the Cavaliers, who have lost 11 straight and 21 of their last 22 games. Meanwhile, the Heat has recovered from a 9-8 start to win 21 of its last 22 games.

-- Chuck Schilken

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: LeBron James. Credit: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

LeBron James brings TNT plenty of viewers

Lebron_300 Not surprisingly, TNT had a lot of people watching LeBron James' heavily hyped return to Cleveland on Thursday night as his Miami Heat beat the Cavaliers 118-90.

The network had 7,052,000 million total viewers and 4,867,000 million households for a 5.0 overnight rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is the network's second-highest overnight rating of the NBA season. Only the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game on opening night was higher with a 5.6 rating.

Viewership for Thursday's game peaked in the first 30 minutes and overall beat out the NFL Network's coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles-Houston Texans game, which got a 4.1, although TNT is in significantly more homes than the NFL Network.

Through the first 14 games of the season, ratings are up for TNT's coverage of the NBA. Here is what the network is averaging over last year through the same period, according to TNT.   

  • +45% total viewers (2,846,000 versus 1,965,000)
  • +41% households (2,094,000 ´╗┐versus 1,488,000)
  • +41% men age 18-34 (686,000 versus 487,000)
  • +46% men age 18-49 (1,151,000 versus 789,000)

--Debbie Goffa

Photo: LeBron James performs his pregame ritual in front of Cleveland fans. Credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

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