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Fallout from the LeBron Facial Video

7-26-09

After weeks of waiting, the world finally saw the infamous LeBron James dunk tape this earlier this week. And from fans who had been waiting on the edges of their seats to see what all the hype was about, the reaction was pretty much the same across the board: “So what?”

The video shows LeBron James coming over to help out for a teammate who Xavier’s Jordan Crawford had beaten off the dribble and attempting to block his shot. James was a bit too late, of course, and Crawford threw down a nice two-hand dunk as James’ hand came in from the Crawford’s right-hand side.

The amount of fallout from this dunk is expected to be off-the-charts for James. Word is that the King will be fined $25,000 by the Cavaliers’organization for embarrassing the franchise and that Nike’s lawyers poring over the fine print of LeBron’s contract to see whether or not it can legally be terminated.

Okay, okay, so none of that is going to happen, obviously, but the fact remains that the significance of this tape has been grossly exaggerated and that the LeBron James dunk fiasco was a big waste of everybody’s time.

Nike recently gave the tapes back to the two journalists who were filming the skills camp at which the dunk occurred, but not after a Web hit bonanza for places like TMZ.com, Ebaum’s World, and even BetUS.com after the tape was leaked.

Considering the timing of Nike giving the tapes back to the journalists after they supposedly violated the rules of the camp by filming it, you have to question just how much of a publicity stunt this whole thing was. Did Nike profit off of it in some way? That wouldn’t be surprising.

Did Nike create the media firestorm for the sole purpose of keeping LeBron’s name in the hearts and minds of NBA fans everywhere during the long off-season? You can’t rule that out, either.

At any rate, there’s obviously no shame in getting dunked on by a much hungrier, younger athlete like Jordan Crawford, especially considering the Detroit native and former Indiana transfer wasn’t even LeBron’s man on the play.

Put yourself in LeBron’s shoes for this one for a second here. He just got done with a grueling 82-game season and a disappointing playoff loss to the Orlando Magic and here he was playing a pickup game with guys blessed with about half his talent in some cases. LeBron was probably taking it easy, and yet he still almost managed to block the dunk attempt at the last second.

And then there’s the obvious fact that this is basketball and this kind of stuff happens. People get dunked on, it’s part of the game. That shouldn’t stop the star players from trying to block every shot they have a chance at, but it should stop Nike from wasting everybody’s time by confiscating a tape that everyone had the right to see.

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