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LeBron James Reportedly Referred to Himself as ‘King James’ in Text Message

The hatred expressed by the media and fans towards LeBron James is excessive. Some of it is warranted, some is not, and we know that fellow NBA players are jealous of the Heat. I respect LeBron James’ game on the court immensely and think he takes far more criticism than he deserves. You can blame “The Decision” for making him a walking target, and Scottie Pippen’s MJ comparisons didn’t help matters. But if this story about LeBron James is true, then I completely understand why everyone dislikes him on a personal level. We’re talking about an ego out of control if this is accurate.

Here’s an excerpt from a column in The Washington Post as shared by Eye on Basketball:

“A player recently told me LeBron had contacted him about possibly joining forces in the offseason, though he was cryptic about where he actually might play. The text began: “Yo, this is King James.”

“I was like, ‘Give me a break. You’re going to call yourself that?’ ”the player said, on condition that his name not be used.”

Keep in mind that Mike Wise was on our list of LeBron James haters in the media, so this is somewhat part of his agenda, but if the story he relates is a fact, then this is on LeBron. I hope it’s not true, but if it is, then LeBron’s ego really is out of control. Chosen 1 tattoos, King James nicknames? Referring to himself that way? Rickey Henderson thinks that’s turrible.

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Gregg Popovich: I Don’t Care What Tony Parker Says

A few weeks ago, Tony Parker had a lapse in judgment.  The Spurs guard probably realizes now that it isn’t a good idea to write your team off as a championship contender, especially when you are going to be playing with that team until 2015.  Naturally, Parker backed off of the comments he made about the Spurs being finished, but Gregg Popovich was obviously rubbed the wrong way by what he said.

“You think I care what Tony Parker says?” Popovich told WOAI-TV via Spurs Nation. “You think Tony Parker is gonna coach when he quits? Why would I listen to Tony Parker.”

Pop was then reminded that Parker owns a basketball team in France, and he responded by piling it on his All-Star guard even further.

“He can own but he can’t coach,” Popovich continued. “Get your ass out there and play, Tony. Tie the score. But talk about basketball, I don’t need Tony for that.”

What is interesting about all this is that Parker made it a point to take back what he said and assure everyone he would not have signed a four-year extension with the Spurs if he thought they couldn’t contend.  Despite the backpedaling, Pop still had to show that the remarks annoyed him.  Popovich sounded more like a coach talking about an ex-player than someone on the current roster.  While this isn’t the first time there have been signs of the two not getting along, they have plenty of time left in the offseason before they have to get over it.

Ron Artest: Mike Brown Took LeBron James and Bunch of Old Ladies to Finals

Ron Artest supports the Lakers coaching hire of Mike Brown, his former coach in Indiana. Though Artest is disappointed that the players made it tough for Brian Shaw to be considered for the job because they fell apart in the playoffs, he thinks Mike Brown is a good coach. And he expressed his support in a way only Ron Artest can.

During an interview with Mason & Ireland on 710 KSPN in Los Angeles to talk about his hilarious prank by Jimmy Kimmel (watch the video here), Artest shared his thoughts on the Mike Brown hiring.

“I think it’s good,” Artest said. “Mike Brown is a guy who got LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers to the championship with just LeBron and a bunch of old ladies in canes. I don’t know how he did that, I don’t know how he did that, but he’s a great coach — I played for him in Indiana. He was a great defensive mind. Rick Carlisle did all of the offense, and Mike Brown did all of the defense.”

If you can get past the hilarious insult of the rest of the ’07 Cavaliers, Artest has some serious confidence in Brown. He also said that if he were more mature back in Indiana the team could have won some titles. Ron Ron also says he’s picking the Heat to win the Finals despite being down 3-2.

You look at his comments about the Cavs being a bunch of old ladies with canes and it’s no wonder he won a sportsmanship award this year. I’m also sure Larry Hughes, Damon Jones, Drew Gooden, and some of the other players from that squad will have some words for Ron next time they see him.

Rashard Lewis Denies Absurd Rumor He Slept with LeBron James’ Girlfriend

An absurd rumor was started by a gossip website Thursday and it spread across the internet. The rumor, which had extremely shaky details, said that Wizards forward Rashard Lewis had slept with LeBron James’ girlfriend, Savannah Brinson, and that’s the reason LeBron had been playing poorly in the Finals. The report surfaced the day after Stephen A. Smith said LeBron was going through personal issues that affected his play in Game 4 of the Finals, leading people to connect the two stories. I said they were separate, unrelated issues, but it didn’t matter to the folks hungry to jump on any possible anti-LeBron news. The result was Rashard Lewis going on a radio station in Houston to quash the rumor:

People can deny a story and still have it turn out to be true, but this felt differently. Two items convince me what Rashard says is true: he’s never met Savannah, and he says he talked to LeBron’s circle about the rumor. That was enough to convince me. Now the only other question I have is why Rashard Lewis says the NBA is a tight sorority. Bro, I know you skipped college and went straight to the NBA, but you gotta know better than that. That’s turrible.

Meanwhile, we have yet to hear a denial from Delonte West.

Head nod to Black Sports Online for the video

LeBron and Dwyane Wade Mock Dirk Nowitzki for Being Sick (Video)

It would be tough to find someone who doesn’t respect Dirk Nowitzki for scoring 21 points for the Mavericks — 10 in the fourth quarter — during a Game 4 victory against the Heat despite a fever that allegedly reached 101 degrees.  Or would it?  Perhaps we have to look no further than the Miami locker room, where Dwyane Wade and LeBron James appeared to have a little fun at Dirk’s expense after their team’s shootaround on Thursday.  Here is the video of LeBron and D-Wade making fun of Dirk’s sickness courtesy of CBSSports.com:

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Stephen A. Smith: LeBron James Had Personal Distractions in Game 4 (Video)

Radio host and NBA reporter Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James has personal distractions that led to his lackluster play in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The first I heard about the personal issues from Smith was during his guest appearance on Jim Rome is Burning Wednesday. He apparently repeated the same issues during his radio show, and then again Thursday morning on Mike and Mike with Chris Broussard in for Mike Golic. Here’s audio of that interview via Iamagm.com:

During his appearance on Jim Rome is Burning (full video below), Smith said “My theory is that he has a lot of distractions off the court and it tends to affect his play on the court. There are people in his camp who have alluded to that. … his mind is not completely and totally on the game.”

I don’t doubt Smith’s information, and it’s worth mentioning he was one of the first people to boldly predict LeBron and Chris Bosh would join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Here’s the thing: nobody wants to hear an excuse. We already heard enough about LeBron’s elbow last year and about Delonte West and his mom. Excuses are old, everyone faces problems, and we just don’t want to hear it.

LeBron, regardless of what is going on in his personal life, has to play well for the Heat. Nothing else matters except the results, and they have to be there for LeBron.

For more insight, here’s Smith’s appearance on JRIB that provides more background:

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Charles Barkley Antagonizes Miami Heat Fans Again

We’ve previously touched on the NBA Finals side story involving Charles Barkley, the Miami Heat, and their fans. Barkley was one of the loudest critics of LeBron James when he left Cleveland for Miami and that disgust spilled into the season when he called the Heat a “whiny bunch.” Then TNT had to move their pre and post game show indoors during the playoffs in Miami because Barkley was being heckled by fans outside the arena. If you thought that incident would have taught him to lay off the fans, you’d be wrong. During a visit on the Waddle & Silvy Show, Barkley let Heat fans have it.

“There’s something about that team that annoys me,” Barkley said. “They’re just a whiny bunch and I can’t root for them. Yeah, they got the worst fans, no question. It’s not even loud in there. You’re at the game and you’re like ‘Man, it’s not even loud.’”

That last complaint is something I’ve previously mentioned. When the Heat were behind in playoff games, it was silent at American Airlines Arena. It really is pathetic sometimes. And the wealthy fans who show up wearing ugg boots and sunglasses to sit in the front row show up late, leaving plenty of empty spots. It honestly makes them look worse than LA fans, and that’s hard to do. Are Heat fans the worst fans? I don’t know about that — they’re pretty passionate about their team now, but they’re not exactly your die hard version. And you definitely wouldn’t see ugg boots on men in the front row at too many other arenas, so that automatically places them in poor company.