LeBron’s “Chalk” Commercial Set to Air This Thanksgiving Day

This Thanksgiving holiday Nike will debut its latest television commercial, “Chalk,” which features basketball star LeBron James. The 30 and 60-second U.S. television spots draw its inspiration from LeBron’s pre-game ritual of tossing talcum powder into the air at the scorers’ table before each home and away game. The pre-game ritual of LeBron has become a symbol of the ultimate “Just Do It” moment.

The ad campaign, produced in cooperation with Portland, Ore.-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy is part of Nike’s integrated marketing and communication support for LeBron’s latest signature sneaker – the Zoom LeBron VI. The ad will begin airing on Thanksgiving Day during the nationally televised pro football games. It will run on major networks and cable channels including ESPN, ABC, Fox, CBS, BET and MTV. The campaign will also be featured on www.nikebasketball.com.

In addition to LeBron James, the commercial also features cameo appearances by basketball players Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge, Brandon Roy, Daniel Gibson, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hicks and platinum recording hip-hop artist Lil Wayne.

[youtube width=”400″ height=”343″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZUfVRC6Cpg[/youtube]

Pregame Q&A with New York Media

Q: Hey LeBron, would you like to play for the Knicks someday?

A: Right now I’m trying to focus on what I have at task. That’s the Cavs and us getting better everyday and compete for a championship. To bring that type of distraction to our team right now would be unfair to my team, the coaching staff and the rest of the organization.

Q: You’re not blind, teams are making trades and it is clear what teams are trying to do.

A: July 1 of 2010 is going to be a big day. It’s probably going to be one of the biggest days in the history of free agency in the NBA. A lot of teams are gearing up to put themselves in position to get one of the big free agents.

Q: Last week you said you wanted to end up where you could play for the most championships. Does the size of the marketplace matter to you at all?

A: That is something that is not a factor. You look at a guy like Tim Duncan, who decided to sign in San Antnio. He took pay cuts so they could sign Manu and Tony Parker and compete for a championship. We all know San Antonio is not a big market at all. So for me, it is all about winning, it’s not about the market.

Q: You said Tim took less, does that mean you would take less than a max contract if it meant bringing in more talent?

A: I didn’t say that (laughs). I like the talent part but I didn’t say I was taking less.

Q: You’ve said you have respect for this building, do you have a different impression for the team that plays here now than you did for the last few years?

A: I think coach Mike D’Antoni has done a great job thus far to get them in a system that works for them. I think in the last couple of years they have been in a system that doesn’t work for them. In the past they’ve had the same type of players and Mike has allowed them to get up and down and run and gun. It’s definitely a different team.

Q: If Cleveland won in the next year or two years, would it be easier or harder for you to consider leaving?

A: I don’t know. We’re going to try to do our best this year to try to win it and try to win it next year. Like I said, July 1 is a big day…for me to give you an answer of where I am going or whether I am staying or not, I don’t know.

Q: Do you like playing in up-tempo systems?

A: I had fun this summer bringing that offense to the Olympic Team. We were able to do some things offensively that were honestly unstoppable.

Q: LeBron, are you flattered by all the attention that you’re getting in New York?

A: Absolutely, I am flattered that teams or there rumors go around that would love for me to be a part of their team. I can’t sit up here and say I’m not flattered. But right now I am with the Cavs. To answer your question, yes…we’ll see what happens.

Q: What about New York appeals to you?

A: I think the fans. The fans are really great. They love the game of basketball. Every time I come here there is a warm feeling because you know the history…being a basketball junkie how could you not love being in this building?

Q: How close of a relationship did you develop with Mike D’Antoni this summer?

A: Really close. Coach D’Antoni gave me a lot of freedom on the offensive end. I was a leader of that team and let me oversee a lot of the plays. I think we all know Mike D’Antoni’s system is all about freedom. It was great to be out there and be a part of that system. To be a part of that mastermind, of that system, you are like “wow.”

Q: Are you worried that some endorsements aren’t going to be there like they were in the past?

A: I don’t know…I know I have great relationships with the partners I have. All of them are long-term deals. There’s always going to be deals out there.

Cavs Rout Listless Knicks, 119-101

Some people considered Tuesday night’s Cleveland-New York game to be a chance for the Knicks to showcase why LeBron James should sign with them in two years but it rapidly turned into a good demonstration of why the NBA’s leading scorer should think long and hard before leaving his current team; the Cavaliers led by as many as 34 points en route to a 119-101 victory and they controlled the game so thoroughly that James did not even play in the fourth quarter. James finished with 26 points, four rebounds and one assist in 30 minutes. Six other Cavs scored in double figures, including Delonte West (16 points), Wally Szczerbiak (15 points) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (11 points, 10 rebounds), who was the early focal point of the offense as Cleveland pounded the ball inside against the smaller Knicks. Quentin Richardson led New York with 22 points, while Chris Duhon added 14 points and six assists. Two of the Knicks’ three newly acquired veterans played: Tim Thomas came off of the bench to contribute 16 points, six rebounds and four assists and Al Harrington had 13 points and nine rebounds but shot just 5-16 from the field and looked very rusty, which is not surprising considering that his playing time in Golden State had been slashed this year due to a conflict with Coach Don Nelson.

Garbage time skewed the final team numbers a bit but Cleveland shot .527 from the field, won the rebounding battle 48-43, enjoyed a 50-28 points in the paint advantage and held the Knicks to .414 field goal shooting. Those statistics are the direct result of Cleveland being the bigger, more physical and more defensive-minded team. Many people have understandably praised how deep and versatile the Lakers are this year but the Cavs also have a deep and versatile roster, though for some reason the national media acts as if the team is wholly dependent on James. The truth is that to be a good defensive team you have to have all five players on the court working together “on a string”; the Cavs demonstrated that kind of effort throughout this game, while the Knicks rarely exerted much energy at that end of the court. New York Coach Mike D’Antoni has definitely brought his free flowing offensive philosophy with him from Phoenix but the Knicks do not have enough talent to execute it as effectively as the Suns did—and their defense, at least on this night, is even worse than Phoenix’ was during his tenure. The larger issue here is that even if/when the Knicks upgrade their talent level it has been demonstrated that in the NBA defense wins championships; you can win with a variety of different offensive styles but you have to have a commitment to playing solid defense on a nightly basis.

The Cavs smartly attacked the Knicks in the paint early in the game, repeatedly posting up Ilgauskas on the left block against Wilson Chandler. Ilgauskas scored seven points in the first quarter and set the tone for the rest of the game. Meanwhile, James’ sporadic outside shot looked good early on as he drained back to back three pointers; he finished 3-7 from three point range, tying his second best three point shooting performance of the season (he had made just 11 of 43 three pointers—25.6%–in the 13 previous games). Color commentator Walt Frazier said, “Those shots illuminate how strong he is, barely flicking his wrists.” Indeed, both of those shots were set shots but when James went for three in a row he missed and Frazier noted, “That time he jumped and it threw him off.”

The Cavs led 34-22 by the end of the first quarter and then they blew the game wide open in the first two minutes of the second quarter, extending the margin to 42-22 with James on the bench. After a Daniel Gibson runner made the score 48-24, the New York fans began booing. When James returned to action the Cavs led 55-31 and he immediately hit a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from the left baseline. On the next possession, James looked like he was playing “Around the World,” attempting exactly the same shot from the right baseline but failing to connect. One of the intriguing things about James is that his shot selection is questionable at times and yet he shoots a good field goal percentage, largely because he scores so many easy shots in the paint; if he either attempted fewer three pointers or shot a better percentage from that distance and then eschewed fadeaway shots for strong post moves he could increase his shooting percentage to well over .500, which would be a remarkable figure for a small forward in this era.

James had one dunk in this game; it looked like he would have an opportunity to catch a fast break lob from West late in the second quarter but when defender Harrington kept retreating West took the ball to the hoop himself and threw down a two handed slam, causing Frazier to exclaim, “West was 6-3, 180 pounds of fury that time.” Coach D’Antoni received a technical foul after that dunk as he complained about the two Ben Wallace blocked shots that created the transition opportunity for Cleveland. After the replay was shown, Frazier acknowledged that both blocks were clean. James missed the technical free throw but he shot 9-11 from the free throw line overall, improving his career-high percentage to .784, a most welcome development for someone who draws as many fouls as he does.

Getting back to the issue of shot selection, during the Cavs’ second to last possession of the first half James dribbled the shot clock all the way down before firing up a three pointer that glanced off of the side of the rim. That is a bad shot not only because he missed and because he is not a good three point shooter but also because there was absolutely no ball or player movement; those are the kinds of possessions that can be costly against a good team but against the Knicks it did not matter: Ilgauskas rebounded the miss, scored, drew a foul and made the free throw to put Cleveland up 67-36. The Knicks added a David Lee layup right before halftime.

James opened the second half on a strong note, ripping the ball away from Chandler, going coast to coast, drawing a foul and making both free throws. Play by play announcer Mike Breen talked about how much James has improved defensively since he came into the league. Frazier added, “Most people feel that Kobe Bryant is the best player in the league and I’m sure that James wants that honor. He’s getting there.” Mo Williams ended New York’s run by making a jumper and the Cavs began to pull away again as the Knicks showed little effort defensively and took poor shots on offense. By the end of the third quarter Cleveland led 95-66. New York pulled to within 104-88 after a four point play by Thomas at the 4:13 mark of the fourth quarter but the Cavs soon pushed the margin back over 20 and then cruised to victory.

NBA TV broadcast this game as part of its “Fan Night” promotion, the weekly opportunity that the network provides to fans to vote for which game they would most like to see. The Lakers versus anyone has been the most popular choice this season, but NBA TV personalities Ahmad Rashad, Gary Payton and Chris Webber lobbied heavily last week for the Cleveland-New York game, citing James’ 50 point performance last season in Madison Square Garden. By halftime, Rashad, Payton and Webber openly expressed their regret about the lopsided nature of the game. Payton looked right into the camera and said, “I’m sorry fans. My bad.” Knicks fans may have been discouraged, national fans may have been bored and James watchers may have wanted to see more highlights but for the Cavs this was a solid road win as they begin a stretch of four games in five nights.

Big Apple Zoom LeBron VI Coming to the Big Apple

If you are wondering how big and how much money Lebron, NBA, and Nike could make if Lebron decide to sign for the Knicks in 2010, then take a look at these special shoes Nike made for Lebron just for tonight’s game at the Garden.

This is the third consecutive year Nike has designed a special New York edition version of Lebron’s Zoom shoes. Last year, Nike made a Yankee flavored shows with pinstripes and other features. Two years ago, Nike opened a temporary museum and store in the SoHo district of Manhattan in an effort to drive sales.

“The “Big Apple” Zoom LeBron VI sneakers take inspiration from one of LeBron’s favorite cities, New York, by incorporating the color red throughout the shoe as a tribute to the city’s famous nickname.” according to Nike’s press release

The new show will be available in New York City on Friday, November 28. The shoe will be available at retail locations throughout the city such as Niketown, House of Hoops plus 3 other Footlocker stores and will retail for a suggested price $160.

Bracing for 2010; Lebron James Contract Facts

Teams are clearing their books to prepare for the summer of 2010 which is shaping up to be the most prolific free-agent season in NBA history. That summer will feature most of the 2003 class including our own Lebron James.

Lebron potential availability is fueling the media. The purpose of this post is to keep up with contract facts and keep fans updated with some of the articles and stories about this subject.

Some facts Cavaliers fans and other wishful NBA fans:

  • NBA collective bargaining agreement permit the Cavs to exceed the salary cap to sign James.
  • Cavs can sign James for six years while others can sign him for five.
  • Based on a projected $64 million salary cap, James could sign with the Cavs for about $133 million in 2010. Other teams could sign him for roughly $102 million.
  • The Cavs can give Lebron 10.5 percent raise per year; other teams can offer 8 percent raises.

“Currently, the Cavaliers are in best shape to win a championship with Lebron. The owner and management are committed to building a championship-level team for years to come.

“For LeBron it is about more than just dollars,” Cavs General Manager Danny Ferry said. “As an organization we have committed to building a championship-level team for years to come. There’s a lot of attention and speculation about his future. LeBron has conveyed that he enjoys playing and living in Northeast Ohio.”

“Every day it seems like [the media] has me going someplace else,” James said two weeks ago when the Pistons traded Chauncey Billups, significantly clearing their books for 2010. “I’m very happy here, I have said that over and over.”

James made his strongest comments yet on the speculation at a rally encouraging people to register to vote last month when he said: “I love you, Cleveland . . . I love Ohio and I’m not going anywhere.”

“When I decide to make that decision, it is basically to put me in a position where I feel like I can win multiple championships,” James said before scoring 31 points in a victory Tuesday at New Jersey. “If it’s staying here, then I will be here. If it’s moving elsewhere, then I will have to look at all my options.”

Other available free agents:

The summer of 2010 is not only the summer of Lebron. The following players will be available as well:

Dwyane Wade | Chris Bosh | Amare Stoudemire | Paul Pierce
Ray Allen | Tyson Chandler | Manu Ginobili | Richard Jefferson | Joe Johnson
Tracy McGrady | Yao Ming | Steve Nash | Dirk Nowitzki | Michael Redd

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Media Coverage Around Lebron James 2010 Contract:
Subscribe to our newsletter or RSS feed to get full coverage of the “Summer of Lebron”

Just like MJ, LeBron could pass on the Knicks (Bulls.com 12/1/2008)
Once upon a time, not so long ago, the Knicks offered a ton of money to a future Hall of Famer free agent guard. But Michael Jordan turned them down, and LeBron James could do the same in 2010.
LeBron leaving Cleveland? ‘It’s not a foregone conclusion (ESPN 11/25/2008)
Bracing for the 2010 sweepstakes (SI 11/20/2008)
Teams Prepare for the Courtship of LeBron James (The New York Times)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James fielding contract questions (Cleveland.com 11/17/2008)
LeBron’s a going concern (ESPN: 11/7/2008)
Summer Forecast: Where will LeBron be in 2010-11? (ESPN 9/16/2008)
LeBron aware that Nets, Knicks looking to snag All-Star in future (ESPN 7/1/2008)
Free Agents: 2009 and 2010 (ESPN: 11/10/2008)

Cavs Top Hawks


Cavs top Hawks Box

 CAVALIERS 110, HAWKS 96: Fast getaway for James gang

 The Hawks’ 110-96 loss was as much about their tired legs —- they were playing less than 24 hours after grinding out an 88-83 home win over Charlotte —- as it was about the drive of the James gang.

Cleveland had the Hawks down 11 points early in the game, increased the lead to 23 before halftime, stretched it to as many as 28 in the second half and cruised to its seventh consecutive home win.

The Hawks fell to 8-5 on the season and evened their road record at 4-4.

“First quarter, we came out of the box very lethargic, and you could tell we played last night,” Woodson said. “But I’m not going to use it as an excuse. Everybody plays back-to-backs. We’ve got a number of them as we continue our season. We’ve got to get ready to play on back-to-backs.”

The Hawks labored just trying to stay in the game after the first few minutes, the fatigue showing most on captain and All-Star Joe Johnson (season-low four points on 1-for-8 shooting), who played on a sore toe on his right foot that required extra attention in the training room before the game.

The truth is the Hawks have played at least a man, or two, down since the fourth game of the season, when Josh Smith landed awkwardly on Zaza Pachulia’s foot and suffered a high ankle sprain that has kept him out of the lineup since Nov. 7.

Atlanta Journal


“We are trying to become a complete team,” said West. “We are trying to be more than just a one man show. We need contributions from everybody, we can’t wait for LeBron to go on a run and try feed off of him. Guys are trying to take the initiative. Guys are doing it this year, going out there and playing basketball and trying to have a balanced attack this year.”

Maurice Evans had 21 points off the bench to pace Atlanta, whose two-game win streak was snapped. Acie Law, also off the bench, finished with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Hawks.

“We just couldn’t make any shots,” said Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, who was limited to four points on 1-of-8 shooting. “I just thought our ball movement wasn’t great and that results into a lot of poor shots and a lot of bad shots.”

The Cavaliers started the contest with 11 straight points, with West beginning the run with a three-pointer and ending it with a jumper almost four minutes into the first quarter.

Sports Network

LeBron MVP – McDyess weighing options

The Detroit Free press provides some insight into Michael Curry, Pistons head coach, thoughts on LeBron James and Antonio McDyess

MVP LEBRON: If the NBA handed out the MVP award in November, Pistons coach Michael Curry let everyone know who would get his support — Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.

And while many wonder where James is headed in the summer of 2010 when he can opt out of his deal, Curry is just concerned with how his team can top James’ Cavs for Central Division supremacy.

“Watching everybody play, he’s playing better than anybody in the league,” Curry said before Wednesday night’s 96-89 victory over the Cavaliers at the Palace. “I’m sure if there was MVP voting right now, he would win hands down.”

James has started the season as if he’s going to do everything in his power to bring the Cavs an NBA championship.

James is averaging 29.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists. While you can point to new point guard Mo Williams as making a major difference, Curry thinks the reason the Cavs took a 9-2 record into Wednesday is that James has somehow become better.

“I don’t know if it’s because he played Olympics this summer — he’s much sharper to start the basketball season,” Curry said. “He seems to have a big-time focus going on right now to dominate games.”

McDYESS UPDATE: SI.com reports that free-agent forward Antonio McDyess is being courted by Cleveland, San Antonio and Boston, and that his return to the Pistons is no sure thing.

McDyess was a part of the trade that sent Chauncey Billups to Denver for Iverson. McDyess didn’t want to play for the Nuggets so he negotiated a buyout and is a free agent.

Speculation started immediately after the trade that McDyess, 34, would return to Detroit.

However, because of league rules, the earliest he could return to the Pistons is Dec. 7.

The Pistons are still adjusting without McDyess.

“I always thought that the biggest reason early we were able to play a lot of guys a lot of minutes is that we had (McDyess) coming off the bench,” Curry said.

When the team had McDyess, it could play McDyess, guard Rodney Stuckey, one starter and two backups the entire second quarter and still have plenty of scoring punch.

“We can’t do that right now,” Curry said. “In trying to move guys around to make sure we can keep guys in a position where they can be successful. … It’s kind of tough.

“Hopefully over time if we can get Dice back whenever he makes his decision about what he’s going to do, we’re going to have to figure out a way within this group to get some more scoring off the bench.”

Detroit Free Press