Not-So-Good PR: LeBron’s Confiscated Tapes

lebron-james-skills-academyThere is no denying that LeBron James gets criticized for every move that he makes.  It comes with the territory when one desires to be a global icon as well as one of the biggest athlete/celebrity-types in the world.  Jet-set with Jay-Z?  Then expect the “crab dribble” to shake the core of Blogfrica for weeks – albeit mostly in the Washington DC area.  Have a tattoo of “Chosen One” on your back?  Then prepare to get scrutinized when Nike makes a puppet in your likeness and your team happens to lose in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Wear an LBJ-MVP shirt, or even something that says “Check my $tats?”  It’s LeBron James piñata time.

But now all of those trivialities can now move aside as the sports world will now have something else to pick on thanks to the alleged confiscated video tapes of James being dunked on at his very own Skills Academy. 

By now, you’ve likely heard that former Indiana and current Xavier guard Jordan Crawford threw down a pretty solid two-hand dunk on James during a pick-up game.  The moment was reportedly caught on tape by two different individuals who ultimately had their tapes confiscated by Nike Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt – the same guy that also happened to be in the passenger seat of James’ Ferrari during the MVP award presentation.

Reports are circulating that it was in fact James who ordered the hit on the tapes, which is not exactly far-fetched.  He’s a pretty intense and competitive guy.  Recall the whole “I’m a winner” soundbite.  But if it is true, James’ name will once again be placed on the e-chopping block due to the perceived lack of humility.  You know, the “He wants the world to check his $tats, but won’t let you see him get dunked on” bit.  And, if it’s true, I can’t say that it isn’t deserved.  It does sound a bit like James wants it both ways.

The issue I have is that the MVP was playing pick-up basketball with very talented players.  If he did not want any of such footage to leak out, how about not letting it happen in the first place?  I’m sure his counselors enjoy getting to play with one of the game’s greatest, but they’re also going to try and (as crazy as it may sound) actually beat him.  There’s something to be said if one can beat LeBron James in any sort of basketball game.

Crawford did not get to play last season at Xavier due to the NCAA transfer rules, but he did put up nearly 10 points per game as a freshman at Indiana.  He was also considered to be one of the best players at Muskateer practices last season and has a solid chance to be playing in the NBA within the next few years.  He is far from some kid at a rec center that threw down some unbelievable dunk; he’s a talented kid.  James had to have known that the chance of this occurring was substantial. 

Plus, as we mentioned a few days ago, James used to respond to dunks by putting up 50-plus points and leading his team to victory.  But then again, this was all pre-Nike.

I understand Nike’s motives given the amount of money that they have invested in LeBron James.  Having a video of James getting dunked on – especially in the manor which it is being described – go viral on the Internet would not bode well for their marketing campaigns.  However, if James did in fact lead the charge on the confiscation, the blogger backlash is going to be rampant.

At least until they find something else to pick on.  Hey, it is a contract year…