You know when you’ve really made it as an NBA player? It’s not when you get on TV or when you get a shoe deal, it’s not your first 20-point game or a buzzer-beating game-winner — no, my friends, it’s when you finally get your own drink.
Michael Jordan did it, 50 Cent did it, Shaq did it, and now LeBron is doing it. From ESPN:
Sprite announced on Wednesday that it would be releasing Sprite 6 Mix by LeBron James, a drink that features the traditional lemon-lime flavor with cherry and orange. The drink will be available nationwide for a limited time in 19.2-ounce cans and 20-ounce bottles.
“I never imagined I would have my own flavor someday,” James said in a statement. “I had a great time working with the Sprite team to turn my favorite flavors into a pretty cool variation of one of my favorite brands. I’m proud of what we created and I’m excited for my fans to try it.”
As a man who will try any Mountain Dew variation under the sun, I’m coming out as officially on board with this. And by that, I mean if I ever see this at a gas station randomly, I will try it, though I haven’t decided if I want to go with the travel size can or the barely-bigger bottle. It’s a tough choice.
But yeah, this is a huge look for LeBron. He’s got his own gum, he’s got his own pop, all he needs now is his own main course and sides. Might I recommend the LeBronlette for breakfast, a LBLT with some LeBroccoli and cheese soup for lunch, and a LeBrot roast with steamed LeBroccoli on the side? Seems like a good start, though I’m sure you can figure out something besides broccoli to make in to a LeBron James product.
It’s kind of easy to forget that Albus Ricardo “Al” Jefferson (real name, no gimmicks) is only 29 years old. I blame that on his old face and the fact that he came to the NBA straight out of high school, something that hasn’t been allowed for eight years at this point. But it’s true, which is why it’s possible that a 29-year-old is both a) already in his 10th season in the league and b) on his fourth different team in those 10 years. He is like a living fossil, telling us so much we might have forgotten about the past.
And that past is one of the best things Al Jefferson has to teach us about, at least if Lee Jenkins’ must-read Sports Illustrated profile on the Bobcats’ big man has anything to say about it. Because let me tell you, Albus has some great stories to tell. For instance, the tale of Big Al’s first dunk ever is a pure delight.
The first time Jefferson dunked at Prentiss High, he embarked on an elaborate victory lap around the court, and his coach, Lonnie McLemore, had to inform him that the game would not stop for a ceremony.
How elaborate of a celebration must Jefferson have planned for his coach to step in and shut it down? Beats me, but I’m guessing something like this, which is to say VERY elaborate. Though to be fair, on the occasion of my first dunk, I did have Tom Green flown in to do a standup set about it, so maybe I shouldn’t judge. C’est la vie.
But that’s not all — how about the time he first saw Jerry West?
Folks who had never been to Prentiss High crowded the gym to see the Natchez Natural. The day Jerry West showed up, Big Al cooked up 62 points with 21 rebounds and 11 blocks, eyeing The Logo in the stands to gauge his reaction. He learned only after the game that he’d been checking out the wrong middle-aged white guy.
You know, just a classic white guy mixup. It happens. Besides, if Jerry West is not in silhouette form, he’s basically unrecognizable.
And finally, let’s reminisce about Jefferson’s very first meeting with the Celtics, which came right about the time the big guy was donning the old cap and gown. It was a pretty cool meeting, pun 150 percent intended because it is fitting for this story.
In May 2004, when high schoolers were still draft eligible, Big Al flew from Prentiss to Boston for a workout with the Celtics. He stepped off the plane in jorts and a Paul Pierce jersey. He thought he was dressed for the occasion, but the temperature was 40°, and then-Celtics general manager Chris Wallace could not remember where he had parked his new Toyota Highlander at Logan Airport. They combed the outdoor lot on foot for 45 minutes and finally hitched a ride on an attendant’s golf cart, Big Al shivering while Wallace feverishly pushed buttons on his key chain. Wallace insists he did not lose the car on purpose, though Jefferson did catch a cold, sabotaging a subsequent workout in Portland. The Blazers took Sebastian Telfair 13th; the Celtics snagged Big Al two picks later.
There are two things about this that I find particularly hilarious: 1) Al Jefferson went somewhere wearing jean shorts while thinking he was properly dressed; 2) Al Jefferson wore a Paul Pierce jersey to a meeting with the Celtics. Neither of things really make sense. At all. Unless, of course, he wore a different still-employed legend jersey to each predraft workout — then it kinda makes sense. Not budging on the jorts though.
But hey, we were all idiots in high school, am I right? Jorts, getting confused about an old guy you’ve never seen in person, trying to celebrate the first dunk of your life — I’d love for my high school mistakes to be that explainable. But no, I had to think a curly mullet was worth it for the laughs. You win, Albus.
On Wednesday’s live episode of The Starters, the guys revisit Phil Jackson’s introductory New York Knick press conference. What will be his biggest challenge? Who’s the best coaching candidate? And can he convince ‘Melo to stay? That, plus LeBron’s 25-point first quarter, Jeff Teague, Crossfire, Cuban on Dirk, and a “Stop The Pizza” petition.
Shoutout: Paul Millsap triple-doubled in the Hawks’ big win over the Raptors, the first time he’s done such a thing in the NBA. Trillsap went for 19 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the win, which just so happened to be the Hawks’ fifth straight which has pushed them four-and-a-half games ahead of the Knicks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. But at least Phil Jackson’s around!
Not so much: Four out of the five games last night were decided by six points or less — three of which went to overtime — which means the Magic get worst of the night honors because they got smoked by the Warriors, 103-89. Jammy Nelson and Arron Afflalo combined to go 4-14 and score eight points, so they get some of that bad action too.
Ballin: LeBron James scored 25 in the first quarter, threw one of the fanciest passes you’ll see and did this block, all in a win against the Cavaliers.
Not only that, but the Cavs actually stopped a fan from running on the court, so it was a pretty successful night in Cleveland, at least from the Heat’s perspective.