Timing is everything. LeBron James bought a full-page ad in the Akron Beacon Journal, thanking his hometown fans, friends and family. “For all my life, I have lived in Akron — and for that, I am truly a lucky man,” the ad reads. “It was here where I first learned how to play basketball, and where I met the people who would become my lifelong friends and mentors. Their guidance, encouragement and support will always be with me. Akron is my home, and the central focus of my life. It’s where I started, and it’s where I will always come back to. You can be sure that I will continue to do everything I can for this city, which is so important to my family and me. Thank you for your love and support. You mean everything to me.” During the same week where LeBron will have his annual Bike-a-Thon and give out 400 free bikes in Akron, it was a great gesture. Except … (1) The ad came two days after Zydrunas Ilgauskas took out a full-pager in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer thanking Cavs fans for 14 years of support, so to some it looks like LeBron just realized what he should have done in the first place and is copying Z, and (2) Notice how he never mentions Cleveland and keeps it strictly dedicated to his actual hometown, where the reaction to LBJ’s switching teams hasn’t been as vicious as that in Cleveland … Hakeem Olajuwon is becoming the NBA’s most sought-after coach. And if you watched his recent appearance on “Pros vs. Joes,” you know why. Even at 47 years old, The Dream could probably still go out there for a few minutes on an NBA court and get buckets. His moves and footwork are just as sharp as they ever were, even if he’s slowed down physically. After Kobe famously re-tooled his low-post game last summer thanks to Hakeem’s help, now Dwight Howard is the latest pupil. Word out of Houston is that Dwight looks nice, too. “All the things we worked on, he was just wondering why I never used those things in a game,” Dwight told Yahoo! Sports. “He saw all the things that I could do, and he was very impressed. He said that I cannot be afraid to do all these things.” For years everyone has been saying that if Dwight gets some post moves he’ll be a beast, but now it might actually happen … Little-known fact: The Miami Heat have had a long-standing ban on players wearing headbands. Well-known fact: They’re gonna pretend like there never was a rule when it comes to LeBron. Although Rafer Alston and Q-Rich dropped their headbands when they got to Miami, it’s not just a LeBron-specific breach; Jermaine O’Neal used to regularly wear headbands during his time with the team. Then again, he had a lot of forehead that needed to be covered … Every NBA player on a contending team has an opinion about the Heat. Kendrick Perkins shared his with Dime’s Austin Burton yesterday: “It’s gonna be a hard challenge for (Miami),” Perk said. “It’s easy to get all those guys on one team, but to vibe in the same system is another thing. Who’s gonna make the extra pass? Who’s gonna make the defensive plays? This is a grown-man’s league, and other teams are getting better, too. So you know that night in and night out, guys are gonna attack them.” Read the rest of Perk’s exclusive Q&A here … The field is getting a little stronger going into the World Championship: Luis Scola confirmed he will play for Argentina (there was some question since he’d been a free agent), and Britain is getting Luol Deng on its roster. Ben Gordon still won’t suit up for GB, however, and unless Michael Olowokandi finally figured out how to tap into his beastly ways from the University of Pacific, odds are Britain isn’t making much noise in the tourney … Meanwhile, even the coaches are bowing out now for Team USA. Assistant Mike D’Antoni won’t make the trip to Turkey due to a back injury. (If Coach K needs another “offensive coordinator,” Nellie is available.) Hopefully he recovers in time for the Knicks to carry him off the court when they win the 2011 NBA championship. Oh wait … We’re out like Kandi Man …
Smack / Aug 3, 2010 / 2:36 am
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