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Al Harrington Knocks Out Internet Reporter Jason Sereno (Video)

If LaMarcus Aldridge is right about the NBA lockout and talks are not progressing at all, Al Harrington is all set.  That’s not to say the Nuggets forward has a career lined up or anything, but it appears that he is having fun while the NBA Players Association and owners try to hammer out a new deal.  Anthony Randolph can have his school books and his fraternity.  If I were an NBA player, I would be doing what Harrington does during his free time — knocking out reporters half my size.  Check out the video of Al Harrington knocking out Jason Sereno, courtesy of Ted Williams Head:

Sereno certainly didn’t face the danger that Daniel Tosh faced with this punch, but he took a pretty good shot.  How lucky is Harrington? Obviously Sereno agreed to take the punch and did it for exposure, so Big Al is just the lucky guy that got to attempt to take his head off.  Sign me up.

LeBron James Mocking Own Hairline Can be Good for His Image

LeBron James is one of the most image-conscious players in the NBA. He’s the same guy who panicked after getting dunked on around by Jordan Crawford two summers ago, collaborating with Nike to get the video confiscated. That was pretty absurd. But if LeBron’s tweet Wednesday is any indication, he may be loosening up a bit. James joked about his frequently ridiculed hairline:

LeBron James reportedly is egocentric enough to call himself “King James” in a text message to another player. Yet this is the same guy who’s now publicly mocking his hairline. That’s the second time this week we’ve heard something along those lines. In the same interview where Dwyane Wade said some of the criticism the Heat endured was unfair, the Miami guard said he often jokes with LeBron about the forward’s hairline.

If LeBron is now willing to publicly show his vulnerable side, that can make him a lot more likable. After all, it’s his egotistical nature that is so off-putting for many critics. Acknowledging faults and flaws humanizes LeBron, making him seem like a normal person. It’s a good public relations strategy if he continues to be real with everyone instead of hiding his problems.

LaMarcus Aldridge Willing to Skip NBA Season if it Means a Fair Deal

One common theme we witnessed throughout the NFL lockout was optimism.  For the most part, we were given the impression that the players and owners wanted to get a deal done.  Both sides wanted a “fair” deal, but the feeling of a cancelled season never actually became a reality.  That has not been the case thus far with the NBA lockout.

LaMarcus Aldridge, the Blazers’ player representative for the NBA players association, told The Oregonian on Tuesday that talks have not progressed between the union and the NBA and that a deal is by no means in the immediate forecast.

“No,” Aldridge replied when asked if there was any reason for optimism. “Both sides are pretty (far) off right now. So it’s going to be a while.”

When pressed further and asked if he would sit out the 2011-2012 season if a fair deal cannot be agreed upon, Aldridge said he would be open to that if that is what it takes.

Obviously it is in the best interest of all involved parties to play hardball at this point, but while players consider playing football, entertain themselves with beach volleyball, and join college fraternities, it is not looking like the labor negotiations are moving forward.  Aldridge’s opinion is likely the opinion of many other players across the league.  It is still early, but at this point it appears that the NBA lockout is far more likely to cancel the upcoming season than the NFL lockout was before it.

LeBron James Afraid of High Dive But Jumps Anyway (Video)

People put a lot of time and effort into publicly embarrassing LeBron James.  When you’re one of the best basketball players in the world and tend to come across as somewhat smug, that will happen.  Whether it’s LeBron getting dunked on or dunking on a little kid, people always say he is doing something wrong.  We all know he has a tendency to choke in the fourth quarter of big games, but he has to deal with dollar stores who won’t let him live it down.

Today, however, is a rare day.  Like Kobe Bryant has done before us, we’re here to defend LeBron James for being afraid of the high dive.  Check out the LeBron James high dive video, courtesy of CBSSports.com’s Eye on Basketball blog:

Honestly, I would probably have someone else do it before I did too. I know you’re only jumping into a pool and it’s relatively safe, but that can look intimidating for anyone.  Plus, you know, he kind of has something to lose if he gets injured.  Wouldn’t want to call it a career before winning a ring.

Dwyane Wade Says Some of What Heat Had to Endure Was ‘Unfair’

As expected, the Miami Heat were the most hated team in the universe this past NBA season.  To their credit, the Heat came two wins away from the ultimate form of silencing the critics.  As the season progressed it appeared as though Miami was embracing the role of the villain.  Dwyane Wade openly stated that his team would not stop celebrating big plays while LeBron James somehow believed karma was out to get the Cavs.

Despite having clearly warmed up to the concept of being the bad guy, D-Wade says a lot of what the Heat had to endure throughout the season was “unfair.”  What he means by that, I have no idea.  However he did say it when ESPN 540 host Steve “The Homer” True asked him about his comments that everyone could be happy now that the Heat lost.  Our friends over at I Am a GM shared the transcript with us via Sports Radio Interviews.

“At that point it was me,” Wade said. “It was unfair some of the stuff that we had to endure but we grew from it. That’s over with. We move on to whenever we play basketball again and we will be a different team.”

You can listen to the audio here. Unfortunately we don’t know what Wade meant because Homer missed a huge follow-up opportunity.  He should have never let D-Wade say what the Heat had to go through was “unfair” without asking him what he means by that.  Was it unfair that Dirk can still beat the Heat when he’s sick as a dog? Yeah, I guess you could argue that.

Nick Young Missed Capital Punishment Game Over MVP Snub or Travel Costs?

Wizards guard Nick Young had been a participant in the Los Angeles-based Drew League, a summer basketball league, for the past several weeks. He was one of the NBA players committed to represent the Drew League in a scrimmage against their counterparts from the Washington D.C.-based Goodman League. The exhibition game was termed “Capital Punishment,” and it was won by the Goodman League on Saturday. Young didn’t make the trip to the East Coast, and we’ve read two explanations why.

Miles Rawls, the commissioner of the Drew League, says Young was unresponsive to calls and text messages after losing out on the league’s MVP award. Young tweeted as much two weeks ago, saying “So 60 can’t get me MVP in the drewleague 30,40,41,43,45,30,60,35 each game I played.” A few days later, Young changed his tune saying “Y’all think I really care about winning MVP @rewleague come on man I play n that 2 get good run and work on moves I practice.”

So if losing the MVP award doesn’t matter, why didn’t he join the team for the Capital Punishment game? I am a GM.com passed along an explanation from Javale McGee, Young’s teammate with the Wizards, who says Young tried to book his flight for the game too late and the ticket was too expensive, so he didn’t purchase it. Hey, it is the lockout, so maybe being frugal is a wise idea. Hopefully he’ll participate in the LA rematch between the teams.

Kevin Durant Set to Star in Basketball Movie

Players are making good use of their time during the NBA lockout. Nate Robinson talked about trying to play football, Anthony Randolph returned to LSU and might join a frat, several former Bruins are returning to class at UCLA, and Delonte West might submit a job application to Home Depot. But the athlete whose offseason activities may gain the most notoriety is Kevin Durant.

The Thunder star reportedly is finalizing a deal to star in a Warner Bros. movie that has a basketball subplot. According to The Oklahoman, the movie is set to go into production mid-September. The filming location has been narrowed to Oklahoma City and Baton Rouge, Louisiana according to the report.

In a typical NBA season, Durant would not be able to star in a movie because it would conflict with the beginning of basketball training camp. However, with the NBA lockout, little progress is likely to be made in the next few months giving him time to pursue his acting dreams. It may sound odd that Durant would be starring in his movie given that he’s a basketball player, not an actor, but he would not be the first hoops star to hold a feature role in a motion picture. Recall Michael Jordan was a lead in Space Jam, and Ray Allen starred in He Got Game. We’ll also do everyone a favor and leave Shaq and his silver screen aspirations out of this discussion.