Really, this is a controversy? LeBron in an Akron T-shirt?


The photo of LeBron James at the right (the full length version is below) is basically a Rorschach test about what you think of LeBron.

Here are the facts: LeBron tweeted this photo of himself with two young children who did something very sweet — they raised money at a lemonade stand in Akron and donated it to LeBron’s foundation.

What irritated some was what LeBron is wearing — a T-shirt saying Akron (his home town) in the Miami Heat font, and a Heat hat. (Nike made the shirt by the way, bet they sold a dozen of those.)

Is LeBron clueless to what the masses (and many in Akron) think? Maybe. Is he just a slave to Nike. Maybe. Does he not care what any of you think? Probably. Is this really something worth getting worked up over. No.

Man, I can’t wait for the lockout to be over.


Charles Barkley has advice for Tiger Woods, too


Michael Jordan had advice for Tiger Woods as the world’s most famous golfer gets back on the course this weekend for the first time in three months. That makes sense — few people can relate to dominating a sport or being an international star as Tiger did, Michael Jordan is one of those people.

Charles Barkley, he of the worst swing in the history of golf, has some advice, too.

And it’s pretty good advice, too. Not just for Woods but for a lot of the young NBA players coming into the league. Barkley made his comments about Woods while on with Brian Berger on 750 AM The Game in Portland (as transcribed by the brilliant Blazers Edge).

I’m concerned about Tiger. I wish him the best. He’s like a brother to me. I wish him the best. But I’m very concerned about him to be honest with you.

“I feel bad. I do, I just feel bad for Tiger. He’s like a brother to me. He’s making a lot of bad decisions and it’s unfortunate.

“One of the keys to being successful is surrounding yourself with people who are always going to be honest. You’ve got to understand, most people who are around you [when you’re famous] work for you or are just kiss asses… That’s a major problem. You need to surround yourself with good people who are not going to kiss your ass and tell you what you want to hear. Who are always going to be honest.

“That’s a really, really big problem especially when you’re in the limelight. Because the people around you work for you, they want you to buy the dinners all the time, buy the drinks… you have to have a group around you that will tell you that what you’re doing is wrong and help you make good decisions.”

Barkley speaks the truth. A little odd as Barkley could have used some men to tell him the truth at times. But it is the truth.

Stern pessimistic, rips players after negotiating session


Anyone out there still feeling optimistic about a full NBA season? Even part of one?

Moments after players union president Derek Fisher was diplomatic in saying Monday’s first high level meeting between the owners and players in a month was not productive, David Stern spoke and made Edgar Allen Poe sound like Mary Poppins.

Of course, he laid that at the feet of the players.

“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way,” Stern said.

While the players heels are dug in for sure, the owners have come in with proposals that will dramatically shift the economic landscape of the NBA — them getting a majority of all “basketball related income” (the players currently get 57 percent), a hard salary cap, shorter contracts that are not guaranteed or have affordable buyouts.

Both sides accused the other of not coming off their position that forced the lockout in the first place. Which is pretty much what we all expected, but it doesn’t make it any less depressing to hear. These are some more quotes from Stern, via Ken Berger at CBS Sports.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’re in the same place as we were 30 days ago,” Stern said. “And we agreed we’d be in touch to schedule some additional meetings.”

Asked why that would be necessary, given the lack of progress, Stern said, “There’s always a reason for more meetings because that’s the only way you’ll ultimately get to a deal, at the negotiating table. You never know, but right now we haven’t seen any movement.”

The two sides did talk about scheduling two or three days of consecutive meetings later this month. Which is nice, but moot if neither side will compromise.

Next month we will get a better picture for how bad things really are. By then the union should have some kind of ruling on their complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board, saying the owners are not negotiating in good faith. If the board agrees with the players, it can go to the courts to end the lockout and the players would gain real negotiating leverage.

Also, by the end of September games will start having to be cancelled if a deal isn’t reached. That is the ultimate pressure on both sides to reach a deal.

But whether it is enough to really move either side off their current positions remains to be seen.

Jeff Green wants to be a little more like Kobe/LeBron/Pierce

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Jeff Green is a frustrating player.

Great athleticism, there are moments of great play and big shots. Moments you think he can be special. But there is also terrible inconsistency and issues on defense. The bottom line is in five-man units at both Oklahoma City and Boston, they did better when he was on the bench. Whatever you want to think of the advanced NBA statistics, if your team (winning teams) consistently do better when you are off the court, there’s an issue.

Green is a restricted free agent but Boston seems intent on keeping him. There’s even talk of him taking more of Paul Pierce’s minutes. It’s a lot of responsibility, especially since a lot of people view him as the guy they gave up Kendrick Perkins for (it’s more complex than that).

With big expectations, what is Green working on and how will he be used next season? He is thinking big, he told David Aldridge of

That’s up to Doc (Rivers). I know they wanted me to be more aggressive, so that’s what I’ve been doing, is just working on my all-around game. Getting a little Paul Pierce in me. You know, taking a little characteristics from different players. Kobe, being one. Paul. Being with them for a couple of months now. Just a number of guys. LeBron. I’m just working on my game, trying to get better.

There are going to be a lot of eyes on Green next season. If the Celtics are going to make one more run at it, they are going to need a big season from Green and from Rajon Rondo, the young legs on the team. The Big Three will do their thing, but it will take other guys to take on more of the load for these Celtics.

NBA labor meeting yields no progress, but they’ll talk again

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It’s day 32 of the NBA lockout — meet the new lockout, same as the old lockout.

For the first time since the lockout started the two sides sat across the table from one another for nearly three hours in New York Monday but afterwards players union president Derek Fisher emerged to say little had been accomplished, that the two sides are pretty much in the exact same place as 32 days ago. There is this quote from Fisher (via a tweet from Ken Berger of

“A lot of ideas are being thrown around, but it’s become clear that the bottom line is the bottom line.”

Um, yea. It’s all about the money. The Benjamins. The bank.

The challenge was the owners first want to figure out the big issue — the split of Basketball Related Income and how to define that number — while the players came into Monday’s meeting looking to talk about system issues like the type of salary cap and length of contracts. Apparently that went nowhere. The two sides are not even discussing non-monetary issues such as drug testing yet.

If you want a bright side, the two sides agreed to try and schedule another meeting this month where they could meet for two or three consecutive days. Okay, that’s not much progress. Sorry, that’s the best we’ve got. Also, Fisher told reporters that the union is not yet looking to decertify (although that is still on the table).

We warned you not to get your hopes up about the first meeting of NBA owners and players since the lockout started. We meant it. If we don’t see any progress in five or six weeks, then you should really start to worry.