Who Faces More Pressure to Perform This Season: Carmelo Anthony or James Harden?

Carmelo Anthony and James Harden are two superstars who have polarized the league over the course of their careers, and both face a different challenge this year as the 2014-15 NBA season approaches. Which All-Star faces the most pressure to perform?

Howard Beck and Ric Bucher join Adam Lefkoe to debate that topic in the video above.

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Will LeBron James Actually Wear the New LEBRON 12 on the Court?

King James is all smiles about the new LEBRON 12.

His signature shoe is always a hit with sneakerheads, but the LEBRON 11 never seemed to be the right fit for LBJ when he took the court.  

Tuesday James explained how the design of the LEBRON 12 will give him the right blend of cushioning and explosiveness when he wears them in games during the upcoming 2014-2015 season with the Cavs.  LBJ also opened up about his feelings toward Miami and his excitement for the return to Cleveland.

Bleacher Report’s Lance Fresh joined LeBron at Nike HQ to try on the new LEBRON 12 and to find out firsthand why this is an improved fit for LeBron’s foot.  Not to mention a must-have pair for sneakerheads.

 

Follow @LanceFresh

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How Great Will LeBron James’ Economic Impact Be in Cleveland?

What does LeBron James mean to Cleveland?

That depends on whom you talk to.

To the Cleveland Cavaliers and their long-suffering fans, James’ return to his roots in Northeast Ohio portends nothing short of a complete turnaround from the four years of misery that immediately followed the first “Decision.”

The hope, of course, is that James’ impact therein can and will ultimately be measured in Larry O’Brien trophies and ticker-tape parades.

Whether James brings Cleveland its first championship in over a half-century probably won’t stop him from impacting the city beyond his on-court exploits.

Surely, there’s some karmic benefit to having one of the world’s best and most successful athletes choose to live and work in a place that’s struggled amid shifts in the national and global economies in recent decades.

Perhaps some Clevelanders feel better now about where they live than they did a few months ago. Perhaps there will be handfuls of out-of-towners who feel more inclined to consider Cleveland as a future home.

But what will King James’ resumption of his previous throne mean to the kingdom he’s soon to oversee, in terms of actual dollars and cents?

Again, depends on whom you ask.

According to Cleveland.com’s Andrew J. Tobias, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald—who’s running for governor in Ohio on the Democratic ticket—pegged James’ fiscal impact to the city and surrounding region at nearly $50 million per year. That number was derived from a pair of estimates:

  • The anticipated savings on the county’s debt payments toward Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field, which are offset somewhat by a tax on game tickets. Per FitzGerald, the county expects to save about $3.5 million per year on those payments now that fans will be flocking downtown to fill the 20,562-seat Q.
  • Approximately 550 jobs to be created (totaling $38 million in salary paid out) and sales tax to be spurred on by the uptick in spending by Cavs fans at and around the arena.

That number, though, wouldn’t represent much of an increase over the status quo from James’ first go-round in Cleveland.

In the aftermath of “The Decision,” The Cleveland Plain Dealer predicted that the community would bring in $48 million less per year, based on an estimate of the average Cavs fan’s spending at games put out by Positively Cleveland.

Like clockwork, attendance at the Q dipped dramatically in the years following James’ departure in the summer of 2010.

Compared to some, FitzGerald‘s prediction seems downright conservative. According to LeRoy Brooks, a professor of finance at John Carroll University’s Boler School of Business, James’ homecoming could contribute anywhere between $245 million and $520 million to the local economy, via The Plain Dealer‘s Robert L. Smith

Those estimates, first reported by TIME.com’s Sean Gregory, are based on their own, separate criteria:

  • Projected increases in both attendance and ticket prices that, in tandem, could account for $129 million in additional revenue for the Cavs.
  • Appraised upticks in spending locally ($57 million) and throughout Northeast Ohio ($114 million).
  • An additional $15 million of economic activity generated by each playoff home game.

Several hundred million dollars is certainly something, especially since it could all be traced back to one man in one way or another. But, in the bigger picture, even Professor Brooks’ shinier estimates would reflect little more than a drop in Lake Erie. Per Time:

Brooks is the first to admit these are educated guesses. Cut down the number of playoff games or the average ticket price, and the economic impact will be significantly lower. Plus, the Cleveland metro area has a $111 billion GDP. At around $500 million, James’ impact would be worth just 0.42% of Cleveland’s overall economic activity.

Whichever number comes into consideration—be it FitzGerald‘s or Brooks’—neither seems to address in any great depth one important point: where the money comes from.

In general, when a Clevelander goes to a basketball game, they are choosing that option over another,” Candi Clouse, a research associate in the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, told Bleacher Report.

Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross, elaborated on that same point to Yahoo Finance’s Kevin Chupka:

They’re gonna have 100,000 more fans at the games next year. But those 100,000 fans would have been going somewhere else in Cleveland. They would have been going out to dinner or they would have been going to the Indians or the Browns or they would have been going to nightclubs or the theater. So all of those gains to the Cavs are losses for other businesses in the local area.

In truth, if LeBron’s going to bring the bacon back to Cleveland, he’ll have to attract people from outside the city.

“When a visitor comes from another region, they bring what is called ‘new money’ to the region, and this is what will create economic impact from James’ return,” Clouse went on.

At this point, the size and scope of that “basketball tourism,” as Clouse put it, remain a mystery. So too, then, does James’ stature as an economy unto himself.

While James may or may not bring much economic relief to Cleveland as a whole, there’s at least one person who’s due to reap the rewards brought by Ohio’s prodigal son: Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.

Most of the revenue generated by ticket, merchandise and concession sales at Quicken Loans Arena will filter through Gilbert’s pockets before any of it trickles down to the local economy.

Gilbert should also see plenty more cash flow in when the Cavs‘ local TV deal expires in two years. According to Forbes’ Mike Ozanian, the team could fetch upward of $40 million per year for its broadcast rights with LeBron on board—up from its current take of $25 million per year from Fox Sports Ohio.

Naturally, these LeBron-related revenue streams have sparked a spike in the value of Gilbert’s most prized sports property.

Certainly the brand itself, as well as the revenue that the team is able to generate, is much stronger with [LeBron James] — to the point of a billion-dollar franchise,” Peter Schwartz, a valuation expert and managing director of venture capital at Christie & Associates LLC, told Bloomberg’s Scott Soshnick.

The irony of all this? Gilbert, the biggest beneficiary of James’ second stint in Cleveland, isn’t from Ohio; he’s a native Detroiter who currently lives in Franklin, Michigan.

This isn’t to suggest that Cleveland in particular, and Northeast Ohio in general, won’t gain plenty from having James back in town. The projections herein are largely speculative. The numbers could swing any and every which way once the season starts and money’s flowing, from Akron to Solon and all the other points of interest surrounding Rock City.

At the very least, Clevelanders and Ohioans can look forward to watching and rooting for a loaded Cavs squad that LeBron almost single-handedly transformed into a championship contender this summer.

Even if James doesn’t do quite the same off the court.

 

Find me where the King reigns—on Twitter, that is!

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LeBron James’ hairline looking fuller at Nike event

LeBron James was at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., on Tuesday to play in part in the official unveiling of the new Nike sneaker that bears his name, the LeBron 12. But it isn’t footwear that is causing a buzz on Wednesday — although a lot of attention has been heaped upon the release of […] The post The Mystery of LeBron James and His Seemingly Regenerating Hairline (photos) appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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Georgia Tech Uses LeBron James Coming Home as a Recruiting Pitch

We’ve seen college athletics programs recruit players in some unorthodox ways recently, but one basketball program is attempting to use a national NBA storyline to tug on the heartstrings of potential recruits. 

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via College Spun), Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory’s pitch to 247Sports‘ No. 2 prospect for 2015, Jaylen Brown, invoked LeBron James’ return to his home state of Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brown’s AAU coach, Desmond Eastmond, told the AJC the following:

Coach Gregory expressed to him the importance of staying home, and he talked about how it affected LeBron. 

(Gregory) reminded Jaylen that when LeBron decided to come back to Cleveland, one of the first things he said is that he never should’ve left because the importance of him staying within the community that raised him. He mentioned how LeBron talked about how the support system raised him and meant so much to him.

Brown currently has offers from Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona and Kansas, among others, according to 247Sports.com.

[Atlanta Journal-Constitution, h/t College Spun]

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LeBron James Debuts New Hairline With Sneaker Line; Twitter Reacts

LeBron James unveiled his new “Lebron 12″ sneakers for Nike on Tuesday, but that wasn’t the only new line he debuted.
The shoes were supposed to be the main show, but all Twitter could talk about was the Cleveland Cavaliers star’s seemingly rejuvenated hairline.
LeBron released his new shoes…AND HIS NEW HAIRLINE?! http://t.co/00Q1po46Zu—   (@SportsNation) September 17, 2014
i dont know if i can live a life without lebron hair jokes. is chris bosh going to not look like a dinosaur next season if so i quit— DANCESTADAMUS (@dances) September 17, 2014
@AminESPN LeBron moved back to Cleveland, lost weight and his hair grew back. Maybe we all need to move to Clevel… nah— Adam Reisinger (@AdamReisinger) September 16, 2014
LeBron James’ hair is growing back. It’s making a comeback. That’s something he couldn’t do in the NBA Finals.— Danny Elzner (@KETK_DannyE) September 17, 2014
When you’re as famous as James, it’s hard to get away with a change in appearance, no matte…

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The Mystery of LeBron James and His Seemingly Regenerating Hairline (photos)

LeBron James was at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., on Tuesday to play in part in the official unveiling of the new Nike sneaker that bears his name, the LeBron 12. But it isn’t footwear that is causing a buzz on Wednesday — although a lot of attention has been heaped upon the release of […] The post The Mystery of LeBron James and His Seemingly Regenerating Hairline (photos) appeared first on Sportress of Blogitude.

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LeBron James on Kyrie Irving: He can be the best PG in NBA very soon

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said Wednesday during his “LeBron 12″ sneakers unveiling that his All-Star teammates have the potential to be one of the best in at their respective positions. “I believe Kyrie can be the best point guard in the league very soon, and Kevin Love is already in the discussion as far as being the best power forward in the league,” James said, via SI.com. “We have so many great [power forwards]: Tim Duncan, if he’s playing center or power forward, Dirk Nowitzki, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol is still very good. But that’s my vision, to maximize [Love's] potential, and his potential to be the best at his position.” The Cavaliers “Big Three” could have the edge over the Heat’s “Big Three” if Irving develops into the NBA’s best floor general. “That comparison is going to be brought up because it’s good conversation,” James acknowledged, refusing to pick a side. “The Big Three discussion is this whole thing that goes on i

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Lebron James Has Apparently Fixed His George Jefferson Hairline (Photo)

Lebron’s been oft maligned for his rather atrocious hairline for years now–consider it his Achilles heel, if you will.
But now, with the King back in his home castle, he had to get a new crown to get with the return.
Lebron was at a NIKE launch on Tuesday and with him was his new and improved hairline.
LeBron fixed his hairline pic.twitter.com/gqntfeHyLb
— Josh Dhani (@JoshDhani) September 17, 2014

What in the world…
The post Lebron James Has Apparently Fixed His George Jefferson Hairline (Photo) appeared first on Geeks & Cleats.

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Did LeBron James Have His Hairline Fixed?

Hold up. Wait. Stop the record, Dre. 

We need to talk about something crucially important to the social fabric—specifically, we need to discuss the state of the follicle union atop LeBron James’ head. 

Like Napoleon hightailing it out of Moscow, James’ hairline has beat a steady and defeated retreat up the superstar’s scalp for the better part of the last decade. Every year the headband slips another centimeter, spawning Internet jokes and reminding us all of our own inescapable mortality. 

This is no longer the case, however. It appears James has broken the shackles of time and beaten back chronology’s sharp oppression. That is to say, he may have gotten hair treatment. 

Judging by a picture taken Tuesday night by Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver (h/t John Ferensen of NextImpulseSports.com), James’ hairline has risen like Lazarus and stormed back to the front lines.

Is it the shoes? Advanced hair treatment? Carlos Boozer head paint?

James’ seemingly revitalized hairline looks more sophisticated than Boozer’s chocolate pudding comb-over, but let’s do a quick comparison: 

There are three possibilities here:

1)  Golliver’s picture is just a flattering angle of James’ hairline.

2)  James has engaged in actual, non-Carlos-Boozer-pudding-hair treatment.

3)  James is shaking fake hair into his hair-hair.

In any case, James appears to be in the midst of a hairline renaissance. We’ll know for sure by the orientation of his headband come October. If it’s back below a 45 degree, it’s a dead giveaway.

 

Follow Dan on Twitter for more sports and pop culture filigree.

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