No execuses for Lebron, Better show up for Team USA or Else…

If LeBron James wants to assure himself of a trip to the Beijing Olympics, he’d better show up for Team USA in Las Vegas this summer.

Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo told that James could be jeopardizing his status as one of the five or six core players for the Beijing Olympics.

“Unless people have a legitimate reason for not participating, I expect them to uphold their three-year commitment. I’m standing by my commitment and I expect people to stand by theirs. If someone chooses not to participate just because they’d rather not play, that person would put himself at risk as far as who ultimately represents us at the Olympics,” Colangelo said.

“I don’t have a rule, but it just makes common sense that if you miss the first two events you don’t go to the third,” Colangelo said, adding that he also does not expect to have Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson and Chris Paul on the Tournament of the Americas roster because of their various injuries and possible surgeries.

In addition to Kidd, Boozer and Greg Oden (who attended camp briefly last summer), at least two other new players are expected to be invited to training camp in mid-July. One is all but certain to be Kevin Durant of the University of Texas, and another could be Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz.

Colangelo expects everyone on the roster to attend mini-camp in Las Vegas in mid-July, with 15 players being brought back Aug. 12 when the team assembles for camp 10 days prior to the Tournament of the Americas.

James gave his “50-50” prognosis last month, saying: “Right now, I’m 50-50. My girlfriend is expecting another [baby] in June. Health is always an issue. You have to re-evaluate things, go through the season, go through the playoffs and then look at it afterward.” James has waffled to varying degrees throughout the season when questioned on the subject, repeatedly saying he wants to sit down with his family to discuss it after the NBA season.

“I’m not giving out a free pass, that’s my point,” Colangelo said, emphasizing that he expects the same level of commitment from everyone on the roster, not just James. “You have to look at each individual situation and weigh it.”

Kevin Garnett standing up for James

“The body can only take so much,” Garnett said. “It’s hard to make other people understand that. But sometimes, you have to do what’s best for yourself for you to be productive. It’s easy to sit in the back and critique what others do, but it’s one of the hardest things to do in our league.

“Let me tell you what’s going to happen. LeBron is going to step up and not going let the pressure dictate what he’s doing,” Garnett said. “I think USA Basketball is trying to throw it on him. He’s human. Otherwise, he’s going to break down and no one wants to see that. At one point he’ll step up and speak up, and that’s all right to do that. Your body is telling you. You have to listen to your body. If he’s going to be effective in the playoffs, he’ll have to do that.”

Reghi to host sports show on WKNR

 Mike McIntyre of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Radio station WKNR (850 AM) announced several changes Wednesday, including the return to the airwaves of longtime Cavaliers TV play-by-play man Michael Reghi.

Reghi, unceremoniously bumped from the microphone by the Cavs this year, will host WKNR’s “Wine and Gold Show,” a post game wrap-up of Cavs games, beginning Thursday, April 5.

“I will speak my mind about the Cleveland Cavaliers. Of that you have no worries,” he said on the air Wednesday.

Other changes to begin Monday: Mark “Munch” Bishop takes over the 3-6 p.m. slot with his “Munch on Sports” show, bumping Kenny Roda to the 6-9 p.m. slot. Greg Brinda, who had hosted the evening shift, will become host of the Cleveland Indians post-game show.

Listeners might soon get to see the sports talkers, too. WKNR plans to move from Broadview Heights to the Galleria downtown, into a space formerly occupied by a book store, with a glass-enclosed studio visible to the public.

A castle fit for King James

Joe Guillen Plain Dealer Reporter Writes “All that’s missing is a throne.

King James’ new crib – currently under construction in Summit County’s Bath Township – will have nearly everything a 22-year-old multimillionaire could dream of.

Among the more eye-opening amenities in LeBron James’ new $10 million to $15 million house will be a gaming room – labeled as a “casino” on the blueprint – a two-lane bowling alley, a three-story aquarium, a barbershop and a movie theater. There will also be a recording studio, where friend and rap mogul Jay-Z can drop a few verses if he stops by.

The idea behind the extravagance is for James, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, to have a sanctuary where he can step out of the spotlight.

“My whole philosophy is that an individual like LeBron James cannot relax in public,” said Robert Porter, the Westlake-based architect helping design the three-level house. “He’s bringing his life into his own personal environment.”

And for a superstar whose presence can be larger than life, a super-sized mansion seems appropriate.

The house and its six-car garage is expected to be more than 33,000 square feet. That’s about 15 times the size of the average home in the Midwest.

James bought the 5.59-acre lot and its 11-bedroom house for $2.1 million in 2003, Summit County records show. That house, a mere 12,611 square feet, was demolished to make room for LeBron’s mansion, which could be finished early next year, Porter said.

Aside from the master bedroom, the house has five bedrooms and at least a half-dozen bathrooms.

The property is in an unassuming neighborhood, where the privacy trees and gates in front of James’ property stand out among the relatively modest homes with Honda Civics and Ford pickup trucks in the driveway.

The location is right off Interstate 77, giving James easy highway access to reach The Q or the Cavaliers’ future practice facility in Independence. Plus, it’s near his hometown of Akron.

“LeBron likes the area very much and wants to continue to be close to family and friends and support the community,” said Keith Estabrook, James’ publicist.

The main entrance has a canopied terrace that will welcome guests to the main floor, which has a “grand” room, a “great” room, a kitchen, two dens, a bar and a terrace in the back.

Beneath the main floor is the entertainment-themed level. That will house the recording studio, the bowling alley and a movie theater with three elevated rows of seats.

Plus, the lower level will be home to “sports central” – with an entire wall covered with television screens and an adjacent sports bar.

The upper level will include guest bedrooms and a nanny suite.

There are no plans for a basketball court, but Porter said there’s enough unused land to build one.

While construction continues on the house, curious people occasionally drive by to get a glance, said a neighbor.

The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she has seen James a couple of times. She recalled one instance when he and friends, to the excitement of neighborhood children, were driving a motorbike up and down the street.

“It’s great,” she said. “We welcome him to the neighborhood.”


Around the NBA



Gilbert Arenas was admonished by the NBA for making $10 bets with fans during the Washington Wizards’ loss at Portland on Wednesday.  Arenas made the bets as he bantered with fans throughout the Wizards 100-98 loss.  He was booed during pregame introductions and whenever he touched the ball because he had promised to score 50 points against the Trail Blazers.  After the game, Arenas said he bet a fan $10 that he would make the game-winning basket.  He missed badly – throwing up a shot that fell short of the rim – and finished with only 19 points.  “I owe somebody 10 bucks, “Arenas said.  “I bet a fan if I had a chance I would make the last shot.”  Arenas later elaborated on his blog, saying that he made $10 bets with two fans during the game and had obtained their e-mail addresses so that he could pay them off.  The NBA since has removed the references to the bets from the blog.


Seattle SuperSonics guard Ray Allen will miss the rest of the regular season after deciding to undergo surgery for bone spurs in his left ankle. 


Rasheed Wallace received an automatic NBA suspension for the Detroit Pistons’ game at Milwaukee, two days after being called for his 18th technical foul of the season

AT&T Provides a Virtual Tour of the Cavaliers Players Locker Room

AT&T Inc. today announced the AT&T Locker Room program, which gives Cavs fans an inside peek at the team’s “home” furnishings through a virtual online tour.

Now through April 8, 2007, fans may visit for the locker room tour and to enter for the chance to win VIP experiences by clicking on various program interactives.

Two grand-prize winners will each receive four tickets to a Cavs home game, a chance to meet a Cavs player and autographed merchandise. Other prizes in the AT&T Locker Room program include laptop computers, digital cameras, iPod Nanos and autographed basketballs from the Cavs. No purchase is necessary to enter the online sweepstakes.

“We are proud to be the hometown sponsor of the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said Kevin Petersen, AT&T vice president and general manager, Ohio. “The AT&T Locker Room program gives Cleveland fans a rare inside look into the Cavs while showcasing AT&T’s entertainment products and services.”

Around the NBA


Sacramento Kings forward Ron Artest faces four misdemeanor charges stemming from a dispute with his wife at home earlier this month.  The charges were filed late Tuesday.  Placer County Deputy District Attorney Dan Quick said Artest will be arraigned today on charges of battery and corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.  Each carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.


Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani had an appendectomy and is expected to be released from a hospital in the next few days.  No timetable was set for the return to the court for Bargnani, the No. 1 pick in the draft.  Bargnani is considered one of the top candidates for rookie of the year.


Kobe Bryant denied a published report that he has contacted Texas freshman Kevin Durant.  A column in Tuesday’s Dallas Morning News implied that Bryant spoke with Durant on behalf of Nike to help nudge the 18-year-old star toward the NBA and a lucrative shoe contract.  “I’ve never spoken to him,” Bryant said after practice.  “I’ve never seen him.  Obviously he’s a phenomenal talent.  I’ve watched him play on TV a couple of times.  But I don’t know him at all.”