New Miami Heat forward Lebron James has announced that he will donate the remaining 12 roster spots on his new team to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, meaning 12 lucky boys and girls will get to play this season and beyond with James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
"I have worked closely with the Boys & Girls Club for years and I want to continue that relationship even as I head to South Beach," James said. "Also, these poor, mostly orphaned little kids are the only people we can get under the salary cap."
The announcement was met with celebration from the 30 or so children gathered at the Greenwich, Conn. Boys & Girls Club for James' television special "The Decision." Little Stevie Walker, 8, is thought to be the best prospective Heat player. He can dribble with both his right and left hand and scored around 10 points per game in his biddy basketball league last year (official stats are not kept). He will likely start at point guard for Miami if he can get his foster mother to sign a release form.
Beyond Walker, the pickings are slim. Twelve-year-old Douglas Bolt is fairly tall for his age at 5-foot-8, but he has bad asthma and has never played sports, and would likely struggle at center. Olivia Jenkins, age 10, is another option because she says she recently won 12 tickets at an arcade Pop-A-Shot enough to win a small, stuffed unicorn.
Boys & Girls Club of America president Roxanne Spillett said she appreciates James' generosity.
"Lebron has always been great to us," she said. "Although I suspect he's doing this so he has an excuse if he loses in the playoffs again this year."
The Heat have cut Joel Anthony, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers to make room for the Boys & Girls Club children.
"This is a definite roster upgrade," said team president Pat Riley.
Picture ESPN Homepage Irony
Scroll a little further down and the headline is: You Can't.
Lebron James announced his "Decision" Thursday night before a nationwide audience on ESPN. He intends to sign with the Miami Heat. But the Heat quickly issued a statement saying they have no interest in signing the basketball superstar.
"Yeah, thanks for your interest, Lebron," read the brief press release from the Heat. "But the last few weeks have opened our eyes to a little fact: You're kind of a dick. No, not 'kind of.' That's an understatement. You are massive, egotistical dick, the likes of which we have never seen in professional sports. And that's really saying something. So we don't really want to be associate with you. Again: thanks for your interest in being employed by the Heat, but we'll pass and go ahead with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Good luck in your future endeavors! And we'll keep your resume on file."
The rejection means James won't play in Miami and can sign with the Knicks, Bulls, or Nets or return to Cleveland. But considering all those franchises were initially spurned by James' announced intention of playing for the Heat, they may not still welcome him with open arms.
In fact, the Bulls also issued a statement immediately after his announcement that read: "Hey, Lebron: get fked."
While Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov was reportedly overheard telling people: "I will have him killed. This Lebron James shall die."
The Knicks or Cavaliers are now Lebron's most likely destination.
"We're pissed. I made that clear," said Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. "But we're also kind of desperate."
"As desperate as us? Not likely," read a statement from the Knicks. "We are easily more pathetic."
Lebron is having his Lebron-fest on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. ET.
But other networks are trying to get in on the Lebron hysteria by Lebron-ifiying their own 9:00 p.m. shows. Take a look
"So You Think You Can Dance" FOX
Original TV Guide Description: One of the top 8 dancers is eliminated.
Updated Description: One of the top 8 dancers is given a minimum-salary NBA contract to become one of LeBron's teammates and take part in his choreographed pre-game dance routines.
"Antiques Roadshow" PBS
Original TV Guide Description: Part 1 of 3 in Salt Lake City includes a quilt depicting scenes from Mormon history, a Utah landscape by artists Birger Sandzen and documents chronicling the career of actor Philip Margetts.
Updated Description: Part 1 of 3 in Salt Lake City includes former LeBron teammate Carlos Boozer begging him to play in Chicago. Shaquille O’Neal and Ray Allen also appear.
"Lost Worlds" History Channel
Original TV Guide Description:In the second-season opener, the Seven Wonders of the World are explored.
Updated Description: In the second-season opener, the Seven Teams with Maximum Cap Space are explored.
"Rookie Blue" ABC
Original TV Guide Description: Andy wrestles with a dilemma, while the other rookies are ready to duke it out at a charity event.
Updated Description: Andy and his friend LeBron wrestle with a dilemma, while the other free agents are ready to duke it out over who gets stuck joining the Clippers.
Original TV Guide Description: Two female friends are murdered in separate locations on the same night after they each flirted with a man at a hotel.
Updated Description: Two NBA fanbases are murdered in separate locations on the same night after they each flirted with a man demanding a max contract and "global icon" status.
"I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" Discovery Health
Original TV Guide Description:A woman is at sea when she start to develop severe abdominal cramps in the middle of the night.
Updated Description: A man is in the playoffs when he starts to develop severe choking in the middle of the second round.
"Newlywed Game" GSN
Original TV Guide Description: Carnie Wilson hosts a new version of the classic game show featuring recently married couples who compete for prizes by predicting their spouses' answers to silly or suggestive questions.
Updated Description:David Stern hosts a new version of the classic game show featuring recently signed players and their new teammates, who compete for prizes by predicting how many championships they'll watch the Lakers win in the next five years.
"17 Again" HBO
Original TV Guide Description:A former high-school basketball star gets a second shot at life after he's miraculously transformed back into a teenager.
Updated Description:A former high-school basketball star gets a second shot at life after he's miraculously transported out of his hometown by a maximum-salary contract.
"Jersey Shore" MTV
Original TV Guide Description: The crew takes Atlantic City by storm, but the fun ends when Mike starts messing with Snookie and JWoWW. Later, one roommate opens up about her struggles with an eating disorder.
Updated description: LeBron takes Newark by storm, but the fun ends when he realizes his new teammates are Snookie and JWoWW. Later, LeBron opens up about his struggles with a winning disorder.
“Perro Amor” – Telemundo
Original TV Guide Description: Un hombre y una mujer haven una apuesta peligrosa en que no pueden enamorarse mutuamente o de otra persona, lo que acarreara graves conflictos economicos, familiars y afectivos.
Updated description: Un hombre y una mujer haven una apuesta peligrosa en que no pueden enamorarse mutuamente o de otra persona, lo que acarreara graves conflictos economicos, familiars y afectivos. Y LEBRON!
Lebron James is scheduled to announce where he will sign as a free agent on Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET during a special ESPN broadcast.
The televised event has prompted long lines outside of the several television shops in Cleveland, the only remaining American city that has yet to completely adopt television technology.
"I've been wanting one for years," said Cavaliers fan Walter Mischak, standing in a line outside of Hempy's TV And Radio Shop downtown. "But, like most people here in Cleveland, we can't really afford one. That's why I'm hoping they'll take a trade of my prize chicken here."
Hempy's TV owner Randy Hempy says he hasn't seen demand for televisions this high since the moon landing in 1969.
"I am almost completely sold out of my 14-inch, wood paneled, Admiral TV sets," he said. "At $129.99 they're the deluxe, most top-of-the line TV on the market. The Cleveland market."
While many Cleveland residents are trying to find the money to purchase a television, others are refusing to jump on the "fad."
"I won't be burned twice," said Cavaliers fan Steven Domchelski. "I caved a few months ago and bought a cassette player at my neighborhood pawn shop. I wasn't impressed. I'll just wait to get my Lebron news like I get most of my news: word-of-mouth, town crier or oral history."
The deal is done. After careful thought and consideration, Lebron James has announced he is signing a 2-year contract with Verizon Wireless as his cell phone carrier.
"When it came down to it, it made sense to stick withVerizon," James said. "I've already got FIOS TV service, andVerizon's selection of Android mobile phones is very enticing."
The agreement with Verizonallows James to purchase the new Droid X at a low subsidized price and makes him eligible to upgrade to the hottest new phones after just 12 months or get an entirely new phone, with a contract renewal, every two years.
James also considered contracts with Sprint and AT&T. The latter was expected to land the former Cavaliers star with its new iPhone 4, but James was lured toVerizonafter receiving assurance from the store manager that Verizon would soon be adding top phones.
"We're working with Apple on a sign-and-trade deal to bring the iPhone toVerizon," said manager Chris Dalman, manager of Verizon Wireless store #22341 in Akron, Ohio, where James signed his contract. "At that point, we'll begin negotiating an extension with LeBron, too."
Dwyane Wade, currently locked into a long-term deal with T-Mobile, was hoping to lure James and Chris Bosh over to his current service, so he could add them to his Fave 5. But the service's lack of a revolutionary smartphone was reportedly a dealbreaker for James.
After failing to sign James, AT&T has said it will turn its attention to Joe Johnson, who is said to be displeased with his current Sprint service. Johnson is known to frequent Atlanta's Lenox Square Mall, which has an Apple store, as well as an AT&T kiosk near the food court.
James reportedly did not consider getting a beeper, despite the urging of several members of the New York Knicks organization who swear by the devices.
As Lebron James enters free agency, what else is he doing besides deciding on a long-term relationship?
Here are what all of his free agency options would be if they were women.
One day after he suggested LeBron James should sign with the Chicago Bulls, the NBA fined President Barack Obama $100,000 for violating the league’s anti-tampering rules.
During an interview with Marv Albert, the President said that Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah are, “a pretty good core” and then added: “You know, you could see LeBron fitting in pretty well there."That was all the NBA front office needed to hear, as they slapped the Commander In Chief with the same fine given to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who recently stated he will try to bring Lebron to Dallas.
“We want to remind everyone that no one is out of the NBA’s jurisdiction. If you go on the record about any player before July 1st, you are going to be fined," said Commissioner David Stern. "It doesn't matter what position you're in, even if it's perceived to be more powerful than mine."
This isn’t the first time an Administration has found itself in hot water with the world of professional sports. In 1962 the Kennedy Administration was slapped with a "cease and desist" notice by the NFL after organizing a Sunday game of two-hand touch football on the lawn of the White House,which directly coincided with a Redskins matchup. In 1997, President Clinton was fined by Nike after sporting a flag pin lapel instead of a pin with the Nike swoosh, per the conditions of a campaign donation. And in 2006, President George W. Bush was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for cocaine following the first pitch at the Nationals Opening Day game.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president hopes to speak with Commissioner Stern in hopes of avoiding the fine.
"I am sure they can come to a gentlemen's agreement," said Gibbs. "After all, the president did Commissioner Stern a favor last year and looked the other way when he used advance interrogation tactics on Tim Donaghy. No man should be forced to sit in a cell and answer questions from Craig Sager for 36 hours."