Did LeBron promises Liverpool players wild Vegas weekend?

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I so want this story to be true, because I want to believe in a secret Vegas only guys like LeBron James and Kanye West can buy their way into… but I also know the British tabloids make the TMZ look like the Washington Post. My head and heart are torn.

Our story starts here — remember that LeBron James is a part owner of the Liverpool Football Club, one of the powerhouse clubs of English soccer (something LeBron got as part of a marketing deal with the owners of Liverpool and the Boston Red Sox).

That would be the Liverpool side off to a dreadful 0-2-1 start. Liverpool fans are handling this about as well as Lakers fans would handle an 0-8 start.

So LeBron decided to motivate the troops with the promise of a decadent Las Vegas weekend if they win some hardware this year, reports the British tabloid The Sun, which seems to have taken the story down but The Daily Mail picked it up (hat tip to Andrew Sharp at SBN):

‘Everybody in sport needs incentive and if the guys at Liverpool win something this year I will give them the best weekend of their life in Vegas.

‘Kanye is in and trust me, nobody does Vegas like LeBron and Kanye.’

LeBron added: ‘We will take them to places in Vegas 99 percent of people don’t even know exist. There is Vegas and then there is Vegas.’

Again, I so want those quotes to be accurate…

But the head media relations person for Liverpool said LeBron never spoke to The Sun and the story was false.

What’s more, LeBron is just more media savvy than this. While I want to believe he would make this promise to the Liverpool players, LeBron has learned his media lessons well and would not just blurt those kind of comments out to a member of the press. Remember the uproar when a couple summers ago an ESPN reporter covered part of a LeBron and entourage night in Vegas? You think after that and working to rebuild his image he would blurt this out to one of the most sensational of the British tabloids?

But I so want to believe in LeBron’s secret Vegas — the kind of place Prince Henry would challenge Ryan Lochte to a swim race in a hotel pool — that I’m willing to forgive a lot.

But this quote doesn’t pass my smell test. And if the Sun has taken the story down… sorry Liverpool. You may just have to settle for Michael Owen.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

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The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.

Take a look back at just how great Shaq was with the Lakers (VIDEO)

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Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.

His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.

Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.

 

Warriors’ Matt Barnes on facing Kings: ‘I’m trying to kill ’em’

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The Kings were very good to Matt Barnes.

They signed him to a two-year contract worth more than $12.5 million when it seemed he wouldn’t come close to that on the market. Then they waived him, allowing him to receive all his salary and escape basketball hell for the Warriors, who make him much happier.

Yet, he’s going into tonight’s Golden State-Sacramento game with an edge.

Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle (hat tip: CSN Bay Area):

Matt Barnes holding a grudge? Why, I never.