Nobody on this magazine/website’s staff is dumb. We’ve been at this game for years now, and believe we have a pretty good read on the pulse of both the industry and the fans. So we knew that by populating the site with several posts yesterday that were directly or indirectly about LeBron James, there would be some heavy backlash from some readers. But the level of some of the hating was crazy … Over the weekend, Dime’s Aron Phillips went to a Nike media summit/sneaker launch in Akron, Ohio, dedicated to LeBron, so naturally he returned Monday with tons of photos and stories. And naturally, not everybody was a fan. But before you accuse Dime of turning into a vehicle for LeBron, consider this: We’re a basketball publication, primarily dedicated to the NBA, and LeBron James is the biggest reigning figure in the NBA. (Yes, Kobe is the reigning champion and arguably the best player, but LBJ is the face of the League.) If this site existed in 1989, don’t you think there’d be a sh*tload of Michael Jordan content? Especially if some of us had just come back from an event in North Carolina where we played five-on-five with MJ, got a sneak peek at his newest pair of Jordans, visited his old high school, watched the screening of a Jordan documentary, and generally got to do stuff that most people don’t get to do? Not to come across as whiners or anything, we just don’t understand the root nor the amount of the negativity … Anyway, right after Tony Parker turned his ankle in a European Championships qualifier and scared the hell out of the entire San Antonio fan base, Pau Gasol gave L.A. a fright when he broke his finger in a Team Spain practice yesterday. Gasol is expected to miss at least three weeks with the non-shooting hand injury, and should be OK for training camp … You have to hand it to Wolves GM David Kahn for at least being open and honest with his team’s fans. While not as lengthy as the open letter he wrote to Minnesota fans a couple months ago in the local paper explaining why he drafted Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, yesterday Kahn penned another letter explaining why he hired Kurt Rambis. “We will be a running, up-tempo team,” Kahn wrote. “Yes, there will be many instances when we will need to rely upon Al Jefferson and a halfcourt offense, but our identity will be fastbreak basketball. As a player, Kurt was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers ‘Showtime’ teams. Those teams thrived by using an up-tempo style, yet knew how to score in the halfcourt when necessary. They also played outstanding defense. Kurt is committed to employing such a style that will complement the young, athletic players we are assembling.” … Somebody get Kahn in the same room with Nellie and let him sell the idea of letters to fans. We’d love to read Nellie’s morning-after thoughts on why he started Speedy Claxton and Acie Law over Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis in an important game. (Will Golden State have any important games this season?) … With Big Baby having re-signed with the Celtics, Leon Powe is closer to reaching a deal with the Cavs. When the Celts won the title in ’08, Powe was an invaluable piece, but his latest knee injury allowed Baby to vault him with a strong ’09 postseason run. If Powe comes back all the way healthy from this new injury, which one of them do you think will have a better career? … Bulls rookie James Johnson might’ve been the most obscure first-rounder this side of Christian Eyenga on Draft Night, but he might be the best pure athlete in the rookie class. Johnson is a kickboxing competitor with a 35-inch vertical who benched 185 pounds 18 times at the Draft combine. But at the NBA Rookie Photo Shoot the other day, we got footage of Johnson showing off a whole other set of skills that could land him on MTV. We’ll drop the video later today, so be on the lookout for it … While we’re still trying to figure out where Ben Wallace fits into the Pistons plans, we ran across a column in the Chicago-area Daily Herald where the writer says Wallace originally signed that gigantic fail of a contract with the Bulls under pressure from relatives. You buying that? Believe us, we’ve seen plenty of NBA — and overseas, and college, and high school, and streetball — players who have a relative pulling the strings and influencing every decision. But that’s usually when said ballplayer is a rookie or just making his way in the League. By 2006, Ben Wallace was a grown-ass man making his own calls. More likely, he decided on his own to cash in on the biggest contract he’d ever receive, only his body just didn’t hold up and his flaws were exposed. Not that anybody’s saying that to Ben’s face, but still … We’re out like Speedy Claxton …
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