The Dagger - NCAAB

It was assumed he was called "King James" because he reigns on the basketball court. But maybe LeBron James earned that nickname due to his tyrannical ways (in dealing with embarrassment).

On Monday, Jordan Crawford, a sophomore at Xavier (by way of Indiana), reportedly dunked on LeBron during a pick-up game at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Gary Parrish of wrote that one high school player said, "it was bad". (We can only assume he meant "bad" in the Michael Jackson sort of way.)

LeBron must have agreed, because he had Nike officials confiscate the two videos that were taken of the dunk. (Parrish blames Nike, but reading between the lines it seems like the censorship was orchestrated by LeBron himself.)

Ryan Miller, a freelance photographer who was working at the camp that day, told

"LeBron called [Nike Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt] over and told him something," Miller said. "That's how I knew his name was Lynn. LeBron said, 'Hey, Lynn. Come here.'"

A few minutes later, Miller's tape was confiscated. 

Connecting the dots, it seems clear that LeBron didn't want video leaking out of him getting dunked on by a college sophomore, so he told a Nike official to get the tape. It was an understandable reflex move (gotta protect the image), but it also unnecessarily makes a mountain out of a molehill.

The Crawford dunk would have been a temporary embarrassment for LeBron. Let's say the video was put on YouTube. It blows up for a bit, dominates blogs for 36 hours, everyone has a good chuckle and then it's forgotten about.

But by censoring the tape, LeBron turns the dunk into a legend. On video, it's just a dunk. Without video, the jam can reach mythic proportions. Because nobody can see it, the story of the dunk will grow in stature with each telling. Today, it was a simple two-handed slam. In a few days, it will be a 360-degree windmill. By the time Crawford makes his Xavier debut in October, he will have jumped off LeBron's shoulders, flipped in the air, slammed the ball home with his left pinkie and then handed LeBron $3.99 for his dry cleaning.

Without the video, we'll never know. Although, given his past history, I think it's safe to say that LeBron probably walked off the court without shaking Crawford's hand.

Update: Be sure to check out Kelly Dwyer's excellent follow-up here.

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