LeBron James, Nike introduce the LeBron X (VIDEO)


The latest version of LeBron James’ signature shoe has started to hit retail, and by all accounts this appears to be the best edition yet. James tells the story of the shoe’s design in the video above, and we have a photo gallery below for a more detailed look. From the official release:

“Inspired by the creation and beauty of a diamond, the metaphoric comparisons run parallel to James’ career. Diamonds form between the earth’s crust and super-heated core, where intensity changes the structure of carbon over time. Under extreme pressure and temperature carbon then becomes diamonds.

“Heat, time and pressure are three things James has faced and act as the shoe’s inspiration. Although a refined diamond is beautiful, it takes work to get there – it starts as a dull rock. Over time, it gains clarity and sharpens with multiple facets.

“Each colorway of the LEBRON X has a unique story. The blue diamond colorway is symbolic of the blue tint diamonds gain from interaction with electricity, which can be paralleled to James’ electric style of play. The cutting Jade colorway is inspired by the Chinese art of cutting jade using diamonds. The story continues throughout the season with multiple colorways linked to the diamond.

“The LEBRON X+ is Nike’s first signature basketball shoe featuring Nike+ Basketball technology and is available in select colorways and in three versions: the fully loaded LEBRON X+ Sport Pack – which includes the shoe and the Nike+ Sport Kit, a Nike+ Basketball enabled version with NIKE+ technology embedded in the midsole, and a non-enabled version. The interactive experience allows users to track in-game activity with NIKE+ enabled shoes and later review, analyze, and share that information using the Nike+ Basketball app.”

The Blue Diamond edition dropped today, with the full Sports Pack retailing for $270. Let us know which colorway is your favorite and whether or not you plan to pick up a pair in the comments.

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Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.