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LeBron James hair plugs speculation resurfaces

LeBron James

The LeBron James hair debate is back. There have been numerous times throughout LeBron’s NBA career that people have wondered if he had a hair transplant of some sort or underwent a surgical procedure. That speculation has returned this week after photos surfaced that feature King James sporting a hairline that appears to be fully intact.

The photo below was taken on Tuesday. If you compare it to the picture you see above, it sure looks like LeBron’s hairline has filled in nicely.

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Carmelo Anthony thinks he influenced LeBron James to go back to Cleveland

LeBron-James-Carmelo-AnthonyYou know why LeBron James decided he wanted to return home to Cleveland and attempt to finish what he started? Carmelo Anthony inspired him. How do we know this? Carmelo said so.

During a recent chat with Michael Strahan for AdWeek, Anthony was asked if LeBron’s decision to return to the Cavaliers influenced him to re-sign with the New York Knicks.

“No. Honestly, I think it was the other way around,” he told Strahan. “I think he saw when I came back home to New York and saw the response and saw the reaction and saw how at peace I was when I came back home. … I’m pretty sure he looked at that moment and saw that that was a very special moment, and he had the opportunity to go back home himself and regain that love.”

That’s cute. Maybe I’m missing something, but I find the fact that Carmelo thinks his situation had an affect on LeBron’s to be pretty funny. Anthony was “at peace” when he returned home to New York because he was unhappy in Denver and wanted a shot at winning a championship. He thought the Knicks could give him that. LeBron is returning home to finish what he started, and if he didn’t have two championship rings already he probably wouldn’t have even gone back to Cleveland.

James returned to Cleveland because he wants to complete his legacy. He knows it is unlikely that he’s going to catch Jordan’s six rings, so now he has a chance to do something no player has ever done — come back to the place he betrayed and try to win a championship. Anthony’s story is nothing like that.

Oh, and let’s not forget that LeBron grew up in Akron, Ohio. Carmelo moved to Baltimore when he was a young boy and even has a tattoo that represents West Baltimore. He also had Orioles logos on his old car calls Baltimore his hometown on his charity website.

Again, it’s cute that ‘Melo thinks he played a role in the biggest story of the sports year.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

LeBron James backs Eric Bledsoe, tells Suns to ‘break bread’

LeBron James Eric Bledsoe

LeBron James expressed his support for Eric Bledsoe in an Instagram post on Friday where he told the Phoenix Suns to pay the man.

James shared the photo seen at top on Instagram that shows him working out with Bledsoe. He also included the following caption:

“Great work today lil bro @ebled2!! Future All-Star in this league in no time. PHX break bread. #Klutch #Work #GymRats #StriveForGreatness”

Bledsoe is the only remaining unsigned restricted free agent in the NBA. Bledsoe’s agent wants a max contract for his client but they have not received any max offers. The Suns have offered a 4-year, $48 million contract, but that’s not enough for Bledsoe’s agent.

With very little leverage and no offers coming, Bledsoe might have to sign a qualifying offer this year and become an unrestricted free agent next year.

LeBron James excited to bring chalk toss back to Cleveland

LeBron-James-chalk-tossLeBron James may be coming back to Cleveland as a more experienced and mature player and person, but he plans to act like he never left. In addition to keeping the same jersey number for his second stint with the Cavaliers, LeBron is also looking forward to bringing back the chalk toss.

LeBron posted a video game simulation of his chalk toss on Instagram over the weekend.

“I swear I can’t wait for this moment again!!” he wrote. “#TheLand #PowderFillsTheRoom #StriveForGreatness.”

[Related: Dwight Howard mocks LeBron's chalk toss in Cleveland]

LeBron did the chalk toss throughout his time with the Cavs and brought it with him to Miami, but he hasn’t done it much in recent years. While I haven’t watched every Heat game in the past two years, I can’t find any evidence of James doing his chalk routine since roughly 2012. Maybe he was saving it for the big return.

Andrew Wiggins’ HS coach: ‘Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him’

Andrew-WigginsAndrew Wiggins might as well have been handed his walking papers by the Cavaliers the day LeBron James decided to return to Cleveland. Like the rest of us, the No. 1 overall pick knew the Cavs were looking to deal him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. But was he concerned about it? It doesn’t appear so.

According to Wiggins’ Huntington Prep high school coach Rob Fulford, the former Kansas star has been unfazed by both trade rumors and what LeBron thinks of him.

“Andrew is such a good kid; he’s just a classy kid, very humble, very respectful,” Fulford told Jeff Caplan of NBA.com. “I think this whole process with the trade rumors, he could care less. That kid just wants to play basketball. The fact that LeBron never reached out to him, Andrew could care less what LeBron James thinks of him.”

When LeBron wrote his heartfelt essay for Sports Illustrated announcing that he was coming home, he mentioned how excited he is to work with several new teammates. Wiggins was not among those mentioned, which was hardly an oversight. Wiggins, 19, then told reporters earlier this month that he had not spoken to James once since they became teammates.

Kansas coach Bill Self later said that Wiggins told him he wants to be traded. Fulford basically said the same, noting that Wiggins can now be the star of the show in Minnesota.

“Andrew’s going to be a superstar,” he said. “This gives him a platform from Day 1 to kind of be the guy, and he’s ready for that. … It’s one of those things, him being on a team where it’s kind of really going to be his, I think, is a good thing for him.”

With Love out of Minnesota and Timberwolves fans desperate for a winning team, Wiggins will have an opportunity to be the hero. Playing in Cleveland with a kid from Akron would not have presented him with the same opportunity.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Kobe sent LeBron a great text message in 2010

Kobe Bryant LeBron James

Kobe Bryant’s incredibly competitive spirit was on full display in a text message he sent LeBron James during the infamous summer of 2010.

The summer of 2010 was the one where LeBron left Cleveland for Miami to form a Big 3 with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Prior to James announcing his decision, there was a lot of uncertainty surrounding the MVP’s future.

Would he stay in Cleveland? Would he go to the Knicks? Would he consider the Lakers? The Heat weren’t even in the picture according to most insiders.

Regardless of where LeBron chose to go, Kobe had a warning for him.

According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Kobe sent the following awesome text to LeBron that summer:

“Go ahead and get another MVP, if you want. And find the city you want to live in. But we’re going to win the championship. Don’t worry about it.”

Does it get more Kobe Bryant than that?

[Also see: Kobe and LeBron trade trash talk on Christmas 2010]

Despite his bravado, Bryant couldn’t have been more wrong about the message he sent LeBron.

Though the Lakers had just won the title — their second in a row (LeBron won NBA MVP both seasons) — James led his Heat to the NBA Finals each of the next four seasons. The Mavs won the title the next season, and then LeBron got his rings — two in a row — before the Spurs ending that streak in June. The Lakers haven’t been back to the Finals since Kobe sent that message.

[Related: Kobe tells LeBron one ring is not enough]

I’m not a Kobe fan, but you have to admire his competitive spirit. That guy is oozing with confidence and belief in himself and his teammates. His drive, desire and will to win have helped him win five NBA titles.

That story about the text message came as part of a cool article Ding wrote on “untold stories” about Kobe. I suggest you check out the entire thing for more nice Kobe stories.

John Calipari: I wouldn’t have gone to Cavs even for LeBron James

John CalipariA little over two months ago, a report surfaced that indicated John Calipari was in “deep discussions” with the Cleveland Cavaliers before he finalized a new contract extension with Kentucky. That was before LeBron James shocked the world by announcing he was heading home to Cleveland.

In hindsight, Calipari was probably using the Cavs and any other NBA team as leverage to get more money from Kentucky. But what if he knew that taking a job in the NBA would mean getting a chance to coach the greatest player on the planet? Would Calipari have left the Wildcats for King James?

“No. No. I don’t think so. Because he and I have a great relationship (with LeBron), but it’s not based on me coaching him,” Calipari told Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal. “We’ve got a relationship. I’ve known him for years and years. We’ve always been friends. But it was never based on that. I’ve said that. I’ve had a chance to coach Derrick Rose, John Wall and DeMarcus (Cousins), Anthony Davis and Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist). And I’m leaving names off, but I’ve coached some of the best players in basketball, and it is a thrill. There’s nothing better than that. Especially when those guys are all good guys.

“Well, LeBron is also that kind of player and that kind of person. But again, leaving guys who made decisions based on what’s right for their career was something I couldn’t have gotten by anyway.”

Once the Harrison twins — Aaron and Andrew — decided to stay at Kentucky along with Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson, Calipari said there is no way he was going to leave. Kentucky gave him a $52.1 million extension through 2021 just to be sure.

“They came back because it was good for them and their careers and they knew they needed more developing and coachingm” Calipari explained. “That was by me. That’s what they wanted. So that made it a tough deal to say, ‘I’m just going to leave these guys here.’ With who? It may be somebody I don’t know that wouldn’t do the things for them that they needed to do.”

Somehow, I find that hard to believe. The potential to make $8 million per season as an NBA head coach and president of basketball operations while coaching the best player in the league probably would have intrigued Calipari more than the thought of inheriting a rebuilding project. He’s only human, after all.