LeBron wants to inspire kids with new TV show

LeBron James says there was a lack of good sports TV programming aimed at children.

      
 

 

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Clips from new Disney series, ‘Becoming’ with LeBron James

The Disney Channel is about to premiere its newest series, of course for children, entitled “Becoming,” which will showcase various athletes from their humble beginnings and their rise to stardom.
The first episode will feature the show’s developer, LeBron James.
“There’s no sports programs where parents and kids can sit down and watch it together,” James told USA TODAY Sports. “This made a lot of sense — me being able to come together with Disney and put together a program like this, where parents and kids to sit down together and watch episodes about people they look up to. They can get the history and the story and things they can relate to in their own households.”The pilot episode will debut on Sunday 5:30 p.m. ET and at 8 p.m. ET on Disney…

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LeBron James/Beats by Dre banner hung in Cleveland, Nike one soon to follow (photo)

The return of the once and future King, LeBron James, obviously has Clevelanders whipped up into a frenzy as the opening tip of the 2014-15 NBA season is just around the corner. Now, as it was during James’ first reign, he looms large once again over downtown Cleveland, looking down upon his fanatical basketball minions….Read More
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New LeBron banner to be unveiled before opener (Yahoo Sports)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The new gigantic banner celebrating LeBron James’ return to Cleveland will be unveiled Oct. 30 before the Cavaliers open the NBA season.

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Why Heat know they can compete without LeBron

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have new types of pressure, but the Heat are more relaxed now.

      
 

 

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Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza Reflect on Heat’s Failed Pursuit Amid LeBron Uncertainty

MIAMI — The conventional wisdom is that the Miami Heat rebounded reasonably well this offseason from the loss of the game’s premier player, re-signing Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, adding veterans Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger, and drafting Shabazz Napier to inject some overdue youth along with James Ennis.   

But even if they exceed expectations, that won’t completely curtail conversation about what could have been, not just if LeBron James had stayed, but also about who they could have added to complement him.   

In separate conversations with Bleacher Report, Monday in Columbus and Tuesday in Miami, current Bulls forward/center Pau Gasol and current Rockets forward Trevor Ariza spoke of the Heat’s recruiting efforts during the free agency period, and how strongly each considered moving to Miami. 

The Heat liked both playersGasol as a complement to Bosh in the frontcourt, and Ariza as a wing defender and three-point shooter to replace the retired Shane Battier. 

Clearly, Miami is a city both players like.  

Ariza was born there.  

And, when told that this particular reporter was from there, Gasol smiled, “Miami? Oh, good for you.” 

After spending six-plus seasons with the Lakers, how close was Gasol to remaining in warm weather, and joining the Heat?

“We had a few conversations,” Gasol said. “We met in Los Angeles as well. But their situation wasn’t clear at the time.” 

That occurred over July 4th weekend. 

“They couldn’t really give me certainty of certain things,” Gasol said. “Of LeBron…” 

James, after opting out of his contract, had yet to commit to returning to Miami; later, Pat Riley revealed that James hadn’t been returning his texts or emails. 

“So that was important, as far as my decision went,” Gasol said. “So at the time that I made my decision, basically it still wasn’t clear. It seemed like LeBron wasn’t going to go back, so I felt like Chicago was going to be a better fit for me.” 

Gasol agreed to a three-year, $22 million contract with the Bulls on July 12, one day after James’ essay in Sports Illustrated announced a return to the Cavaliers, although that did come after the Bulls and Lakers had been unsuccessfully attempting to work out a sign-and-trade deal. 

Gasol confirmed that Bosh and Wade reached out to recruit him.

“Obviously, I respect them a lot,” Gasol said. “I appreciate their interest. And it really would have been nice to play with a lot of guys [who] reached out to me, excellent players, Hall of Famers, a lot of them. But I could only play for one team, and I decided that Chicago was the best way to go for me.” 

Since James left, there have been reportsincluding one from ESPN Radio’s Dan LeBatardthat James had advised Gasol not to sign in Miami because he would not be around, an accusation that fits with the organization’s perception that his mind was made up long before he informed Riley. Sources close to James have disputed that premise generally, as well as the Gasol report specifically. 

Did James steer Gasol from the Heat? 

“No, that’s speculation, that’s not accurate,” Gasol said. “No. I communicated with LeBron as well, but that was not mentioned. No.” 

Now Gasol is a core piece on what is expected to be Cleveland’s primary competition in the East.

“So far, I’m still trying to figure things out, get into a better rhythm sometimes,” Gasol said. “But I think I fit in nicely, I add to the team. And I like our team and our chances…I think it’s an improvement from the situation that I was in the last couple of years. And now it’s just a question of giving everything you have, every single night, so you get more comfortable and more used to it, with your teammates, and your teammates with [you].” 

While James’ presence mattered to Gasol, it was less of a concern to Ariza. 

“They talked to me the whole time,” Ariza said of the Heat, who also met with him in Los Angeles over July 4th weekend. “Nobody really knew what he was going to do. And my decision wasn’t going to be based off what he did.” 

Ariza felt like it would have been a “plus” to play with James, or to fill some of his role.

“So it was a win-win for me,” Ariza said, laughing. 

Ariza called the free agent process “humbling” and “crazy,” and said that Riley’s pitch, about organizational culture, was “great.”

“He’s really good at it,” Ariza said, laughing. 

And yes, joining the Heat was tempting to him.

“[Miami] is like home to me,” Ariza said, smiling. “And it was very, very tough to have to go a different direction from Mr. Pat Riley. But they showed a lot of interest in me. I’m very grateful for it. But I felt like Houston was the best fit for me.” 

Ariza said it didn’t come down to money, though the Heat, when they thought James was returning, were operating as a capped team and offering free agents the capped-out mid-level exception starting at about $5.4 million per season. Later, when James left, Miami had more money at hand, and gave much of that to Luol Deng, at two years and $20 million, to be their new starting small forward. 

The Rockets ultimately signed him for four years and $32 million to be their starting small forward, in place of Chandler Parsons, who was allowed to leave for Dallas as a restricted free agent. 

 

Ethan Skolnick covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @EthanJSkolnick. 

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LeBron eyeing his third title, first for Cavaliers (Yahoo Sports)

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 20: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against Tony Snell #20 of the Chicago Bulls on October 20, 2014 at Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Four years away from home changed LeBron James. He came back more mature, more focused, more complete – in a class by himself as a player.


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LeBron James’ Leadership Is the Final Step in His Superstar Evolution

LeBron James‘ return to the Cleveland Cavaliers was about unfinished business—both in terms of championship pursuits and personal growth.

The first bit of business will take time to tackle, but the second may already be complete. James has matured into the leader he couldn’t be the first time around.

 

Narrative Perfection

James’ career has had a storybook quality to it all along. The hometown kid stays put, becomes an immediate superstar who exceeds absurd expectations, rises to the top of the league and then falls short of his goal. Then came the heel turn, the shocking exit many viewed as an outright betrayal.

That’s remarkably close to fiction.

So, of course James now gets to make the full pivot back to hero. Wiser for his experience away from home, he returns ready to pay those lessons forward.

The home he left, of course, welcomes him with open arms.

The overall narrative arc is perfect: A man previously incapable of leading—due to youth, emotional immaturity or unwillingness—is now in charge of the most promising young team in the league.

According to the lone holdover from James’ first tour with the Cavs, Anderson Varejao, the younger version of James wasn’t ready for the task at hand. The veteran center watched James explicitly tell every player on the roster what his demands were for the upcoming season during training camp.

His reaction, per Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports: “He used to talk individually to the players before, but not like that.”

 

Practical Maturation

The “LBJ returns transformed as leader” angle isn’t just the logical narrative completion to his story. It’s also necessary for the Cavaliers’ competitive goals.

Cleveland is young, and young teams generally need a strong veteran presence to keep priorities straight, agendas pure and goals in sight. But this particular Cavaliers team needed a leader more than most.

The infighting that plagued the locker room last year wasn’t a major problem in isolation. That Cavs team wasn’t talented enough to make any real noise. As composed heading into the summer, there wasn’t a championship future in sight.

Writ larger, though, Cleveland was in danger of letting the alleged rift between Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters (not to mention the broader organizational disorder) define the club going forward, potentially letting the discord take deep root.

Irving was quickly developing a label as an exhibition game hero (see: All-Star MVP) who didn’t possess the team-first attitude or commitment to lead his team anywhere worthwhile. Fair or not, labels like that have a way of sticking.

In a similar way, new arrival Kevin Love caught heat for putting up gaudy numbers that somehow didn’t lead to team wins.

James can help his younger teammates shed those labels. He can show them the secrets, teach them what it takes to make personal success and team success the same thing. And his influence couldn’t be coming at a better time or place.

Because Love and Irving will be a big part of the foundation after LBJ is gone—not just for the Cavaliers, but for the NBA as a whole.

 

Already in Action

James has always been polished beyond his years, but his demeanor during his first tour with the Cavs was more emotional and less considerate of how it affected teammates who, whether he wanted them to or not, looked up to him. They needed him to lead—even though he was an NBA infant at the time.

Back then, I’m not saying he was a bad leader, but he had some ups and downs with that,” Varejao said, per Spears.

Now, James is acutely aware of how his comments and conduct affect teammates.

Case in point: his shrewd sound bite leading up to an Oct. 20 preseason game against the Chicago Bulls.

Per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, James said: “[The Bulls] are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry. They’ve been together for a while; we’ve got a long way to go.”

Though it’s possible James genuinely believed in Chicago’s superiority, the point of his pregame nod was clear: He was trying to motivate his teammates.

Success. Cleveland went on to win by a final score of 107-98, and Irving, in particular, looked like a player bent on proving who the better team really was.

James is now the team’s resident sage, dispensing hard-won wisdom on the unavoidable adversity his Cavs will face and, more importantly, its value, per Windhorst

“It has to happen. I know it is going to happen. A lot of guys don’t see it, but I see it. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to grow. You don’t define yourself during the good times, you define yourself through the bad times.”

There’s nothing magical about what James is doing. He’s merely passing on the wisdom he earned the hard way with the Miami Heat. It took an uncomfortable stylistic overhaul and a loss in the 2011 NBA Finals for James to realize something: Struggle builds camaraderie and character.

That’s an old lesson. Now that James is an old head, he’s ready to teach it.

 

His Own Path

We shouldn’t discount the novelty of LeBron embracing his role as a leader. It’s not every day you see a transcendent, once-in-a-generation superstar who has the ability (and desire) to pass something on.

Kobe Bryant has always been brutal on his young teammates. Even now, as he takes Julius Randle under his wing, he’s doing it in a way that packs on the pressure (and expletives).

And it’s not like Michael Jordan did Kwame Brown any favors.

Being an MVP-caiber talent makes it hard to be a leader. You can’t just tell your followers to “do it like I do.” They can’t; that’s why you’re you and they’re them.

What James is doing now fits appropriately into his overall legacy. He’s the unselfish alpha, the wholly unique megastar whose greatness is defined by his inherent desire to give rather than take. It makes sense that he’d be the guy to pull off the impossible task of passing on greatness while still in his dominant prime.

He’s Kobe with a conscience. Jordan with a heart.

James’ evolution is complete, and we’ve never seen a finished product like this before.

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9 biggest additions (other than LeBron)

LeBron James is the big name, but who else will make impacts on new teams this year?

      
 

 

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LeBron James Presented with Ohio State Locker Before Preseason Game

The Cleveland Cavaliers will take on the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the Schottenstein Center, the home of the Ohio State basketball team.

To honor one of their bigger fans, the Buckeyes left LeBron James with his own personal locker from the basketball team, complete with all kinds of Ohio State gear. 

Cavs play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod provided a picture of the nameplate above LeBron’s locker:

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

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