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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lebron James Booooed and R.I.P. George Steinbrenner

RIP George Steinbrenner!!

LeBron James booed at Carmelo Anthony's wedding
Last Saturday, while you were enjoying bratwursts and s'mores, Carmelo Anthony(notes) was marrying LaLa Vasquez, an MTV VJ. Cool weekend plans, I suppose. And since Melo is a big-time NBA baller, he attracted more than a few celebrities to his New York City nuptials. In attendance were Kim Kardashian, Spike Lee, Justin Timberlake and Ludacris, who hopefully provided entertainment during the reception. Oh, and LeBron James(notes), whom you may have heard of.
That's right — LeBron James was in New York City just two days after choosing the Miami Heat in his highly rated one-hour ESPN special. You can imagine how well that went over with Knick fans. From Fox Sports:

[LeBron] James was greeted by a round of loud boos from angry New Yorkers outside the wedding in Cipriani 42nd Street when he arrived with his girlfriend Savannah Brinson, myFOXny.com reported.

Geez, LeBron. Way to almost ruin your friend's wedding by choosing to play in Miami. It's like that old saying: "You made your multi-millon dollar free-agency bed, now get booed by Knick fans in it." Or something like that. LBJ might as well hear the jeers now, since he'll be getting heckled basically everywhere but Miami-Wade County. Better to start with a few scattered New Yorkers than 20,000 rabid Clevelanders who hate his guts.
Of course, if those same classy Knick fans had stuck around a little longer, they might have gotten some good news. According to the New York Post's Marc Berman, attendee Chris Paul(notes) made a pretty interesting speech at the ceremony.
During Carmelo Anthony's wedding Saturday night at Cipriani's on 42nd Street, Chris Paul, the superstar New Orleans point guard, predicted a future Knicks Dream Team.
According to a person who spoke with wedding attendee Amar'e Stoudemire(notes), Paul made the reference during a speech of a potential union of himself, Stoudemire and Anthony, saying, "We'll form our own Big 3," Paul allegedly said.
I'm sure that won't get New York fans' hopes up for the summer of 2012. Surely they'll take this potential joining of forces in stride and not get too upset if it never comes to fruition. At least I hope that's the case because VJs don't grow on trees these days. If things change, it'd be unfortunate for Knicks fans to have to boo Chris Paul for passing Jesse Camp on the street.

ESPN host criticizes LeBron-a-thon
ESPN’s Thursday-night LeBron-a-thon — aka “The Decision”— scored big ratings and sparked plenty of criticism of the cable network for blurring the line between news and advertising.
For days, commentators have chewed on the ethical implications of a sports-news network giving a star athlete an hour for self-promotional purposes. But as the special aired, the real-time Twitter critique focused on ESPN dragging out the inevitable decision for nearly 25 minutes. Viewers were forced to sit through Jim Gray — James' hand-picked interviewer— tossing six minutes of softballs before asking what everyone wanted to hear.
Washington Post columnist Mike Wilbon, who interviewed James after Gray, suggests he would have done things differently.
“I didn't like it,” Wilbon said Sunday on CNN. “I mean, just as a reporter, I didn't like it. And I was saying to somebody at the time, there's one question here."
Wilbon, who co-host’s ESPN’s "Pardon the Interruption," spoke candidly about the hour-long special and said that viewers likely wanted the network to "get to it" Wilbon acknowledged that the criticism is something "the network has to live with."
"And that was talked about before," he continued. "And if anybody didn't anticipate that reaction, then that was incredibly naive."
One of the lingering questions in the whole affair is what Gray got out of the deal. ESPN says the network didn't pay Gray. But it appears that James' camp and William Morris did.
An interviewee paying his interviewer presents a blatant conflict of interest. However, Gray disputes a CNBC report that he received payment and contends that he was only reimbursed some expenses.
"I am not receiving a single penny from LeBron or any entity involved with LeBron," Gray said. "I will receive a small stipend to take care of expenses. But I'm not making money off this."
ESPN executives have defended airing the special, which James' representatives brought to the network.
Today, Advertising Age provides a bit more of the back story as to how “The Decision” got off the ground. One oddly fitting detail: Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel — brother of White House chief of staff Rahm, basis for Entourage’s Ari Gold — was involved in the project since the onset of the NBA Finals, prior to James formally entering the free-agent market.

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