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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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Kevin Durant Turns Down Invite to LeBron’s Party, Reminds Us He’s The Man

It’s no secret that we’re big Kevin Durant fans here at LBS.  Last year, the Thunder star emerged as a clear-cut MVP candidate but was not given the honor.  His “where amazing happens” t-shirt may have seemed slightly out of character, but we still thought it was hilarious.  While LeBron James was holding a special on ESPN to reveal where he was signing in free agency, Durant was in the comfort of his own home hammering out an extension with Oklahoma City.

I can’t speak for LB, but I like Kevin Durant even more after hearing that he turned down an invitation to LeBron James’ party.  LeBron was supposedly hosting a party at a theater in downtown Kansas City but Durant politely declined saying, “I don’t go out to parties the day before a game.  I don’t really go out much during the season.”

I’m not trying to crucify LeBron James for hosting a party during the preseason.  There’s really no problem with that, but Durant’s RSVP is just one of the many reasons he’s a more likable superstar than LeBron.  For such a young kid he just seems to have his priorities completely in line.  We’re talking preseason here.  Not a game.  Not a game…practice.  One of the best parts about LeBron going to Miami for me is that the wealth will have to be shared more with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  That will take away from LeBron’s MVP resume and finally give Durant the shot he deserves.

J.R. Smith Unhappy with His NBA 2K11 Video Game Rating

NBA 2K11 is part of a popular video game series and its latest version for the upcoming season was just released. It might surprise you to find out that the actual players are just as interested in the video game as the fans and gamers are, but that’s the case. Particularly, players are really concerned with their ratings in the game. The ratings determine how good the player is in the game and it also is a reflection of what the programmers think of the players’ abilities. If you think this is a joke, I direct you to T.J. Houshmandzadeh and DeAngelo Hall, two NFL players who were upset with their ratings on the Madden NFL game and made their comments public.

Well, as I found out via the new basketball site HoopsJournal.com, Nuggets guard J.R. Smith was not happy with his rating when he heard about it Tuesday. He ranted on twitter:

man they got me ranked like 70 something wow guess who wont be playing 2k11

I could have got a better rating in madden!

No disrespect to anyone but I know they got people on there better then me that can’t guard my NIKE’S

It was brought to Smith’s attention that guys like Mike Miller and Jared Dudley had higher ratings than him. Smith’s a pretty good player, but maybe his streaky nature has him rated lower than he expected. As for a comparison amongst players, Smith is a much better shooter than Dudley, but I would give Jared the nod defensively. Miller is also a much better rebounder and probably as good of a shooter. Sorry J.R., you probably deserve better, but I’m not sure by how much.

LeBron James Is Really Left-Handed

Yesterday I received an email not unlike many others we receive at LBS on a daily basis. It was an email from a P.R. person asking us to take a look at something they’re promoting, hoping we can give their product some publicity by sharing it with the massive LBS community. Most of the time I’m not too interested unless it’s not a one-sided request. For some reason, I decided to watch this video sent to us by people at Upper Deck. And you know what? I actually learned something I didn’t know — LeBron James really is left-handed! If you check out this video, you’ll see him signing autographs with his left hand. Sorry, it just looks really bizarre.

LeBron caused a frenzy over the status of his elbow when he attempted a free throw left-handed last season in the playoffs. If I had known he was ambidextrous, I may have treated things somewhat differently.

Other items of note from the video: LeBron called Michael Jordan, Penny Hardaway, Emmitt Smith, and Deion Sanders some of his favorite athletes growing up. He also said his best autograph is a Time Magazine signed by President Barack Obama. Oh yeah, and did I mention that LeBron James is left-handed?

Tracy McGrady on Miami Heat Big Three: ‘I’m Jealous as S**t’

The NBA season has yet to even begin and everyone wants a piece of the Miami Heat.  Charles Barkley thinks the new Big Three are punks and it sounds like he wants a piece of them in the boxing ring.  LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all got killed with their latest Q Score ratings of popularity among sports figures, reflecting the fact that people have already developed a burning hatred for the Heat and their new superstars.

Then there are those who actually want a piece of the Heat — as in, want to be a part of what they’ve got going.  Penny Hardaway made his best effort to get the Heat to notice him and bring him back in a limited role, to no avail.  Now, Tracy McGrady says he speaks for the rest of the league in saying he wishes he was given the same opportunity Miami’s Big Three have in front of them.

I am envious (of Miami’s Big Three). I’m jealous as s**t,” McGrady chuckled Tuesday morning before a Pistons workout. “I look at all the teams I’ve been on, and I never had a Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the same team. I’m jealous, but I’m happy for them. I hope they win 10 damn championships.”

Of course, McGrady hopes they start winning those “10 damn championships” after he retires and is no longer a Detroit Piston.  Or does he?  This is a perfect example of what we talked about with regard to the NBA trying to prevent players from calling the shots with trades.

It’s rumored that Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul want to join Amare Stoudemire to create the next Big Three with the Knicks.  Since the Celtics formed the Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen and won a championship right away, players are aware that it works.  They know teams can bring in three superstars and still finagle a way to make it work with the salary cap rules that are in place.  It’s the new fad across the NBA and everyone wants to be a part of it.

Dan Gilbert Takes Shots at LeBron on Twitter, Needs to Get Over It

Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert seems to find ways to make himself look increasingly immature by the day.  It’s been almost three months since LeBron James announced he was leaving Cleveland, but it’s obvious the Cavs owner hasn’t been able to get past it.  The letter he wrote to Cleveland Cavs fans was a childish move, but we could at least excuse it as something he did while furious in the heat of the moment.

Gilbert has now resorted to acting like a teenager and taking subtle shots at LeBron on Twitter.  Check out this ridiculous Tweet from his verified Twitter account:

Gilbert is probably reacting to LeBron’s claim that race played a role in the backlash he received after making his decision.  I guess he thought the best way to express himself would be to say things like “a-hole” and “b4.”  Fans can burn jerseys and create angry t-shirts because they’re fans and that’s what they do when they’re mad.  But if I were a Cavs fan I’d be just as worried about my owner being on full tilt as I was about losing my star player.

The season is getting closer and it’s obvious Gilbert can’t turn the page.  The franchise is going to have enough time recovering as it is after losing LeBron, let alone have to deal with an owner who can’t let it go.  If King James’ departure has left a permanent scar on the Cavs’ owner, they could end up being a franchise in ruin for longer than they anticipated.