LeBron James Debuts 8 South Beach Shoes, Sports Marlins Hat

LeBron James wasted no time promoting one of his first items that has serious Miami ties. Nike released the LeBron 8 South Beach shoes on Saturday, 10 days ahead of the Heat’s season debut. The shoe’s colors are similar to the Miami Dolphins’ and Florida Marlins’ colors and there’s expected to be another version with the Miami Heat’s colors coming out soon. The number 828 appears on the back: 82 for the number of regular season games, 28 for the maximum amount of playoff games a championship team can play. And, according to Ethan J. Skolnick, there’s also a lion’s head on the shoe to symbolize the power and strength LeBron brings to the court. Here is a pic of LeBron sporting his kicks and speaking at his publicity event on Saturday:

What gets me about LeBron is that he seemed to go out of his way to piss off Cleveland fans in 2007 when he wore a Yankees hat to support NY even though they were playing Cleveland in the ALDS. He’s a member of the Heat for three months and he’s already sporting a Marlins hat? Now that’s a slap in the face to Cleveland fans if I’ve seen one, but that’s no surprise.

Ron Artest Raffling Off His Championship Ring for Mental Health Charity

Lakers forward Ron Artest has gone from notoriously hated to universally beloved in a short amount of time. After getting into trouble in Detroit, he forced a trade out of Indiana, then went to Sacramento, Houston, and he now appears to have a home in Los Angeles. Since coming to LA, he’s had wacky hairstyles and he’s gone to the gym after delivering a game-winning shot in the playoffs. He also realized how rewarding it can be to do charity work and be a part of the community. So much so, Artest has decided to raffle off his championship ring for charity.

Artest’s raffle will be run through his Web site www.ronartest.com and it will be held on Christmas day. Tickets apparently will be $2 each with a minimum of five tickets purchased. The money will go to Artest’s non-profit organization and then will go to charity. What kind of charity you ask? Well anyone who knows Ron Artest knows he has a soft spot for mental health issues so the money will go to charities that help raise awareness for mental health. At this point, it looks like Ron Ron’s mission in life is to have people thank their psychiatrists in public without causing too many laughs. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. He really is a good guy when it gets down to it.

Michael Jordan: I Could Have Scored 100 Points in Today’s Game

Michael Jordan may officially be taking all this NBA 2K11 nonsense to the head.  There’s no arguing the concept is a fun one for gamers.  Heck, back in the day I remember being frustrated as s*** that I had to play basketball video games as a player who was clearly supposed to be Michael Jordan but was given a name like Joe Schmo.  Jordan never gave video game companies permission to use his name because he wanted to get paid if they did.  Surprise, surprise.

So gamers finally get the chance to play as MJ in a mainstream video game.  I guess it’s cool, but what isn’t cool is what Jordan said about the way the rules in the NBA have changed when he was giving an interview about the game:

It’s less physical and the rules have changed, obviously. Based on these rules, if I had to play with my style of play, I’m pretty sure I would have fouled out or I would have been at the free throw line pretty often and I could have scored 100 points.”

MJ should probably realize that he has an inordinate amount of biggest fans, so there’s no need for him to be his own.  100 points? Wilt Chamberlain only did it because he was a physical freak of nature at the time and shot the ball 63 times.  Humans hadn’t even started getting that large yet.  It would be like if one of us went to the North Pole to take on Santa’ smallest little helper in a game of 1-on-1.

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Did Gilbert Arenas Fake a Knee Injury to Help Nick Young or Was He Joking?

After stonewalling the media at the onset of training camp, it looks like the player formerly known as Agent Zero is regaining some of his personality. Gilbert Arenas did not play in Tuesday’s preseason game for the Wizards because of a knee injury. After the game, he told reporters that he planned to sacrifice playing time to give teammate Nick Young a chance to play. The plan worked, as Young tossed in 24 points and may have reminded the coaches what he can do. The interesting part of the story was pointed out by Matt Moore, who explained Arenas was smiling and laughing when he told reporters what happened. Truth About it has a video for you to judge:

Gil was smiling and laughing, but I think that’s because he was proud of himself for coming up with the plan and seeing it work. If he pulled something like this in the regular season when games matter, I think that would have been a problem. In the preseason, it was a nice gesture for one of his teammates. His only mistake was talking about it publicly because now he’ll probably have to answer to his coaches and the front office who likely won’t be able to trust him when he complains about injuries in the future.

Allen Iverson May Be Taking His Talents to Turkey (Istanbul Specifically)

30 NBA teams might not have interest in Allen Iverson, but at least a team in Turkey does. Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that Turkish team Besiktas has interest in signing Iverson to a deal. They apparently have sent him a contract and are waiting on the former MVP to sign the deal.

The best part of the story, if true, is that one of the sticking points is Iverson’s refusal to allow Besiktas to fine him more than 1% of his salary. I guess Allen knows he might run into some trouble if he refuses to practice with the club and he’s trying to protect himself. The other interesting part of the story is that former Maryland Terrapin Lonny Baxter apparently has filed a lawsuit against the club for failure to pay his salary and agent fees.

At 35 years old, Iverson probably wouldn’t offer much to an NBA team. He’s probably still good enough to be on a roster at this point, but he only has himself to blame for the lack of interest from general managers. Iverson couldn’t accept his role as a bench player in Detroit or Memphis and he became the antithesis of a team player. If he does sign the contract, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lasts less than a full season in Turkey once they get a sense of his me-first attitude.

Chris Birdman Andersen Went a Bit Overboard on the Neck Tattoo (Pictures)

It feels like we’ve been down this road so many times before so I really don’t even know why I’m bothering, but this must be addressed. Nuggets icon Chris Birdman Andersen is already well known for his wild hairstyles and crazy tattoos, but now he’s just taken things to a whole new level. Last year we saw the outline for a neck tattoo reading “Free Bird,” and apparently he spent the off-season filling it in. I don’t know what the proper term is for a filled in neck tattoo — neck sleeve, turtleneck — whatever it is, Andersen has it. He also added on to all his other tats and it doesn’t look like there’s an ink-free inch on his exposed skin.

Thanks to The Big Lead for the pics via SI Hot Clicks.

Doc Rivers Next in Line to Coach Miami Heat Big Three?

Doc Rivers has been the beneficiary of unmatched talent over the past few years, and it’s probably resulted in people thinking he’s a much better coach than he actually is.  That’s not to take anything away from Doc.  He’s the ultimate motivator and the definition of a player’s coach.  He’s a rare specimen in that he can take a group of enormous egos and talents and get them to buy into the concept of a team.  That’s exactly why Pat Riley is reportedly said to have his eye on Rivers if Erik Spoelstra can’t get the job done with the Miami Heat.

Does anyone else feel that it’s going to be nearly impossible for Spoelstra to keep his job?  If the upcoming Heat season ends with anything less than an NBA championship, he’s gone.  I get the impression that they didn’t want him to be there to begin with, but they couldn’t just replace him without giving him a shot with a revamped roster.  If he coaches them to a title, Spoelstra will keep his job.  If he doesn’t, Riley will look elsewhere.

Whether he’s one of the better coaches in the NBA or not, Doc Rivers would probably be a smart choice.  Granted, it would be tough to not be extremely successful with a roster core of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.  The thing that Doc does so well is check egos.  With all the star power that he’s coached over the last three years in Boston, he’s never seemed to let his locker room get away from him.  That in itself makes Rivers worth hiring.

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