I have a friend who couldn’t be nicer.
He spent his summer working at Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play. After one playoff game, he was stationed outside the Tigers’ clubhouse.
Reggie Jackson – Mr. October, not the Thunder guard – tried to enter. My friend asked to see his pass.
“Don’t you know who I am?” said Jackson, who did not have a pass.
“I don’t care,” my friend replied.
The point: The people charged with regulating access at these types of events do their jobs with pride.
Most times, James’ inner circle moves easily through the corridors and news conferences where rival agents are rarely, if ever, credentialed in the NBA Finals. In the regular season and playoffs, you’ll see star agents with the run of arenas, but never with league-issued passes. There are benefits to working with the King, and perhaps that’s why Paul seemed so perplexed when a dutiful arena guard wouldn’t let him into his client’s news conference late Sunday.
“I’m LeBron James’ agent,” Rich Paul told the security woman.
She looked at his credential. She looked at him. She shrugged.
“I’m LeBron James’ agent,” Paul said again. “What don’t you understand about that?
She told him simply that his credential didn’t allow access into the news conference. She didn’t seem confused, nor doubting of his fancy job. This was a news conference, and he didn’t seem to be a reporter, nor a team official.
Paul was reaching now. “I can’t be LeBron James’ agent because I’ve got sneakers on?”
She hadn’t been studying his shoes, but she did glance down and they didn’t seem to bother her. Paul could see [Maverick] Carter inside the news conference room, sitting on a chair, awaiting James’ arrival. How he made it past security and Paul couldn’t, well, it seemed baffling to him. He wasn’t a happy man
I really enjoy this story and wouldn’t mind if video emerges just to laugh at the scene.
LeBron has empowered his friends to represent him, and sometimes, they unwittingly fan the flames of the criticism against him. I’m sure they’ve helped him in many ways, but they’ve also made him look bad by association (The Decision, etc.).
Even though Paul was supposed to help, consider this one of instances harmful to LeBron’s images. Whether or not this was a simple misunderstanding – and even acknowledging Paul’s actions should reflect him more than anyone else – it always comes back on LeBron.
PBT Extra: Who has upper hand in NBA Finals now?