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$300 LeBron X shoes and Nike’s evolution as a company

$300 basketball shoes.  That little notion is driving the entire sports world insane this week.

Some people are shocked about the price, as if no one has ever seen the price of a nice pair of Salvatore Ferragamos or any other finely crafted shoe with less than 10% the research and technology of the LeBron Xs. Some are questioning LeBron’s character, as if he twisted Nike’s arm and forced them to overprice his signature show in some sort of evil genius plan to make every single person on the planet buy his shoes by making them incredibly unaffordable. And there are those who are trying to defend the whole ordeal. Good luck to the latter; people still hate LeBron for no real conceivable reason.

For the purposes of my own sanity, let’s look past the LeBron vitriol and let’s just concentrate on these cutting edge shoes and their wallet-slicing price tag. The real issue here is a question of “want” vs. “need,” and more specifically, who “wants” and who “needs” these shoes.

We live in a relatively free world where no one is forced to buy anything. For everything you can buy there is always an alternative that is more affordable (or more expensive, if you desire). So why is everyone worked up over the price of these shoes? Nike isn’t forcing you to spend $300 — which by the way is only a rumored price and not Nike’s set price — and there is no prerequisite saying you need to own a pair to cheer for LeBron and the Heat. You don’t even need a pair of $300 LeBron Xs to get some run in a pick up game. You can buy brand new basketball shoes for under $50 and have just as much fun at the local courts as the guy in a pair of new Kobes. And if you shop diligently, you might even be able to pick up a pair of new Kobes for under $100.

Like I said: the choices are there, no one needs to own a pair of LeBron Xs. And if you’re still angry at Nike and LeBron, vote with your dollar and don’t buy the shoe.

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Sean Rooks Is Reffing a Local Rec League

If the NBPA and League owners can’t figure out a labor settlement by the end of June, there will be a lockout. Because of this inevitability, the NBPA has urged players to save their money and plan for the worst. They’ve even suggested players consider getting a second job.

Some players may be making plans to play overseas, like Ron Artest.  FIBA rules aside, most players won’t land themselves a cash-rich Euro contract.  So if these players are really desperate for work, maybe they should call up former NBA player Sean Rooks to see if he’s got any job openings.

What’s Sean doing for a living these days? Reffing my local rec league. Yes, you read that correctly. I was just as shocked when my friend sent me this picture of Rooks working a rec league game at Birmingham High School in Los Angeles, CA. For the record, he was a pretty good ref, besides, no one was going to argue with his calls; aside from playing in the NBA, the man stands 6’10” tall.

Sean Rooks has played 12 NBA seasons and has collected over $17 million dollars in salaries. Yet here he is, the tallest man on the court, reffing a few games a day over the summer. Not sure if he needs the extra cash, the extra exercise, or if he just misses being around the game. Either way, get ready to see a lot more of this from current NBA players who don’t have the financial ability to just vacation during the lockout.

Assessing the 2010-11 Miami Heat Roster and Where they go from Here

Some view Miami’s loss in the NBA Finals as a monumental failure. And if you only watched the last five games of the series, you’d have no reason to believe otherwise. But honestly, how many of us thought Miami would come closer to a title than the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers this year?

That’s the world we live in today, one where the dissected pieces are dissected once more before being arranged into 140 character tweets and sent out to all who will listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this new world, information is so readily available yet moving at such a high rate of speed that many times we forget what we were thinking just a minute ago let alone at the start of the NBA season; we’re in a society of short memories.

Miami wasn’t supposed to get here, despite their pre-season victory parade and all of the shenanigans that we observed under LRMR’s big top circus act. This team was a year away. It was the general consensus coming into the season and it held true until the Celtics stumbled and the Lakers seemed gassed against the Mavs. And even when the playoffs began, many fans and pundits favored Chicago, San Antonio and LA over Miami. And that’s okay, because Miami had many flaws that could only be sealed if LeBron became the best player, ever.

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Mike Brown Reportedly Will be Next Lakers Head Coach on Four-Year $18 Million Deal

Less than three weeks after getting swept out of the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers appear to have decided on their next head coach. According to Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area, former Cavaliers coach Mike Brown will be the team’s next head coach.

If Brown does sign on to become the new head coach of the Lakers, he will have beaten out names such as Rick Adelman, Jeff Van Gundy, Mike Dunleavy and Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for the job.  Here are the details from Steinmetz’s report:

Mike Brown will not be the next head coach of the Golden State Warriors.

Brown, the former coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, is expected to be named the new coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to two league sources.

Brown was considered a frontrunner for the Warriors’ job, but is expected to sign a four-year contract worth approximately $18 million with the Lakers — succeeding Phil Jackson as coach.

Nothing has been confirmed by the Lakers’ front office, but all the rumors Tuesday seemed to indicate this would happen.

Here’s the problem with the Lakers hiring Mike Brown: he can’t run an offense if his life depended on it, unless you consider Kobe isolation plays an offense. The one thing Mike Brown is good at is coaching defense, and this hire may be a reaction to the Lakers’ poor defensive showing against the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs.

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Los Angeles Lakers Should Look to Past on how to Fix Team for Future

Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum killed the Los Angeles Lakers. Ron Artest is a mess. Lamar Odom could net L.A. some great pieces. The Lakers should trade for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. It’s the only chance L.A. has to ever win another title again. That’s the only way Mitch Kupchak and Dr. Jerry Buss can fix the Lakers in the offseason!”

Seems ludicrous? Nonsense! This is Hollywood and there are no limits to one’s imagination, regardless of how asinine and improbable the notions may be.

You think I’m making this up? I wish I were this crazy creative. Unfortunately, I’m not but I do happen to live in Los Angeles, where what seems to be the End Of Days was triggered when the Dallas Mavericks, a very capable team, swept the Lakers out of the playoffs in the second round. As soon as the season ended, the chaos began. Just tune in to any LA sports radio station and listen for yourself. Laker fans are going crazy with their opinions on how to “fix” the Lakers thinking of every conceivable method except for the most obvious and correct one.

The best way to “fix” the Lakers is by hiring a good coach to replace Phil Jackson. Then they need to find nice young point guard and a wing or two that can shoot the long ball — chicks dig the long ball.

But the core of this team? You absolutely do not mess around with this core. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom aren’t just vital; they should be considered untouchable.

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Are Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant Fighting Over Girl Trouble?

The Los Angeles Lakers are down 2-0 to the Dallas Mavericks and face a pivotal Game 3 Friday night. It’s looking bleak for the Lakers and a lot of their problems seem to be related to “trust issues,” as Andrew Bynum described it.

Many people didn’t know what to think of Bynum’s postgame comments, but it’s painfully obvious the Lakers aren’t playing the brand of basketball that’s gotten them to three straight NBA Finals and netted them back-to-back championships.

A lot of the Lakers’ struggles have been pinned on their superstar power forward, Pau Gasol. Pau’s averaging just 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game against Dallas in the postseason and a putrid 13.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in the 2010-11 playoffs, all below his All-Star worthy season. Now we’re hearing that Pau may be sulking because of personal problems that may also involve Kobe Bryant. The OC Register explains:

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Charles Barkley Breaks Club on First Tee

Charles Barkley is a notoriously bad golfer. He’s got one of the ugliest celebrity swings due to an inexplicable hitch in the middle of his swing.  So anytime Charles decides to pick up a club, comedy ensues. Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the Regions Tradition at Shoal Creek was bound to be comedy gold and it didn’t disappoint.

When Barkley swings, he typically winds up and then stalls in the middle only to raise his club again, reset his feet and then try and cruch the ball as his body spins violently on one leg. It’s not the way they teach you but it is hilarious and normally the only thing that breaks Charles’ ego. On Wednesday, things didn’t go as smoothly.

On the very first tee of the day, Charles lined up the ball, shook his legs and… destroyed his golf club. Yes, his swing was so bad that the head on his driver came flying off and went down the fairway. Check out the video:

Charles blamed the clubs, saying that he left them out of the bag and they were frozen so when he hit the ball, err, the ground, it broke the club. Good thing they were free.