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What happens in Vegas… ESPN pulls unflattering LeBron James story

Jul 28, 2010, 3:48 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for d-wade-king-james.jpgUPDATE: 3:48 pm: CNBC’s Darren Rovell got this comment from ESPN:

ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz tells us why the LeBron Vegas story was
pulled: “The story should have never been published. The draft was
inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial
process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”

Sounds a lot like spin. Not that we expected anything else.

3:00 pm: We woke up this morning to a fleshed out picture of the life an influences on LeBron James — ESPNLosAngeles’ Arash Markazi was a part of LeBron’s entourage and followed him around for a night in Vegas, living life on the inside, then filed the report.

We’d link to it, but ESPN pulled it. What happens in Vegas did not stay in Vegas, and somebody didn’t like it. The story was taken down. However, there are stored versions all over the Web, such as at Deadspin or Black Sports Online.

LeBron sought out a brighter spotlight to stand in, but he may be finding the realty is not as much fun as the dream.

Read the article, it is a fantastic bit or lifestyle writing. And you do not live LeBron’s lifestyle. The groupies around, the pretending to dribble and shoot jumpers as you walk through a Vegas casino as people stare, the five bodyguards to keep people at a distance, the bottles popping, the life of a true VIP in Vegas. That and LeBron getting six figures for having his name attached to the weekend party in Vegas.

He comes off as immature, rich with a huge ego and acting like the world revolves around him. Not sure that any of this is a surprise, or really all that out of the ordinary for what passes for ordinary in Vegas. Still, the details paint an unflattering picture. Especially when you think of Kobe busting it in a gym somewhere to get better and Kevin Durant resting up for another day of Team USA practices at the same time.

What is interesting is that ESPN pulled the story not long after it first went up. We don’t know what was considered on or off the record, or why the story was pulled, but I don’t see what was so offensive as to lead to the story needing to be yanked. I know Markazi and he is a good reporter and writer, the kind of guy who gets things right.

One’s mind jumps to what seems the most likely possibility — LeBron and his people freaked out after reading it and then demanded it be pulled. They probably threatened libel. And ESPN obliged, not wanting the fight. Sort of like Nike freaking out about video of LeBron getting dunked on at his camp.

Don’t want to leap to that conclusion, but if you’re a fan of Occam’s razor, where the simplest explanation is usually the correct one, then LeBron freaking out makes the most sense. ESPN backing down shows where the calls are made — money gets to ride in the limo, journalistic integrity can wait at the curb. But we will see what the spin is when it comes.

Either way, go read the story.

  1. Hoog - Jul 28, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    What did ESPN think would happen when one of their reporters hung with Lebron and his gang in Vegas?
    I’m really getting tired of the ESPN bs.

  2. CF98 - Jul 28, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I agree ESPN lacks credibility but at the same time its not really a sports story either so I have no issue with them pulling this. However its just another hit to ESPN’s already tainted reputation.

  3. Yosef - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Good ol’ ESPN, the TMZ of sports.

  4. Stagger - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Umm, TMZ would not have pulled the story. Thanks for playing.

  5. bo orlando - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Forget ESPN, this monkey spending cash on stupid stuff like this shows what a loser he really is.

  6. kenny lee - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    This article takes it a bit far…i’m sure kobe was practicing raping someone in a hotel room rather than controlling himself around naked women in a club.

  7. james long - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    This article takes it a bit far, i’m sure kobe was practicing how to take advantage of another innocent lady w/out getting caught.

  8. Kenny Long - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    This article takes it a bit too far, I’m sure Kobe was in the middle of another surprise sex session.

  9. Derosco - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    “there are cashed versions all over the Web…” heh, heh. Can NBC afford a web editor?

  10. long kenny - Jul 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    kenny long takes it a bit far…i’m sure he and kobe had another sex session

  11. James Lee Long Kenny - Jul 28, 2010 at 5:02 PM


  12. Haywood Matthews - Jul 28, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Here’s something to chew on.
    Other players are going to be EXTREMELY angry at WBJ (Wade Bosh James) for pulling this stunt once the owners sit down at the table for the collective bargaining agreement negotiations with the players representative.
    See, I believe Stern and company are not bringing the hammer down on this stunt is because they want to wait and bring it to the table and impose unbelievable penalties on the players if it ever happens again.
    How do I know the fix was in?
    2 time MVP LeBron James and Chris Bosh BOTH basically turn down MAX contracts to go play in Miami?
    What? Are you kidding me.
    Turn down MORE money to go play for someone else and not just one person but two?
    In the same season.
    The owners are going to take the strap to the players and say “well, it’s obviously NOT about the money because two big free agents were willing to take LESS money to play together so obviously we are overpaying all of you”?
    What are the players negotiators going to say to that?
    Players scream about “getting mine” and “getting paid” and here is James and Bosh basically saying “we don’t need the money, we’d rather stack the deck and try to collect rings.What the heck can the players say? NOTHING. The proof is in what Wade Bosh and James did. It’s cut and dried.
    This move will cost the players hundreds of millions of dollars because the players themselves PROVED they are overpaid through their actions.
    Proof the owners let the players off the hook was Miami & Cleveland agreeing to a sign and trade AFTER LeBron announced “The Decision”. Miami & The League wanted to compensate Cleveland in some way for his totally blatant act of tampering, but by the same token know that because of the way Miami will have screwed up an entire league CBA… they will be a marked team whom other players want to beat down because they cost them a ton of money and that is personal.
    Take this to the bank.
    The NBAPA will have to roll over and other players will be smoking hot that these 3 messed up their money.
    I can’t wait to see this play out.
    Think about it !
    I welcome your thoughts as always.

  13. Francesco - Jul 29, 2010 at 12:08 AM

    I just seem to like Lebron less and less every day…..

  14. moni - Jul 29, 2010 at 2:27 AM

    Umm, so what did he do that was so wrong? He’s one of the richest, most successful 25 year olds in america. He’s living life. When i was in vegas last weekend, i would’ve done the same thing if i had the money. But i had to stay at the tropicana and pay $75 to get into XS without bottle service or hot girls holding up a sign that read my nickname.

  15. JoeSixPack - Jul 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    They pulled the story because “it wasn’t ready”?
    That’s a pretty well developed story complete with full layout – let the editor make sure every i is dotted but if they don’t run this again, in near entirety, you’ll know that ESPN caved to pressure from the Mighty LeBron…
    … not that ESPN had any credibility in sports journalism remaining anyway

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