Way back in the fall of 2009, LeBron James seemed to be on top of the world. He had won his first MVP award months earlier, was set to own the NBA landscape as a free agent the next summer, and had put the Cleveland Cavaliers in position to win their first title. Things were so great, in fact, that he planned to take another step towards global icon status by starring in his first film , the working-title-sounding "Fantasy Basketball Camp." With Hollywood mega-producer Brian Grazer on board, the project looked like a slam dunk!
As you may have heard, LeBron's public image took a bit of a hit over the next few years. In the 2010 postseason, he disappointed worldwide audiences as the heavily favored Cavs fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Weeks later, James spurned Cleveland for South Beach during the ill-conceived "The Decision" special on ESPN, and pretty much everyone decided he was a big fat jerk. Production plans for the film were tabled for at least a year, and then put on hold indefinitely when the Miami Heat lost to the underdog Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. The future of the film, eventually titled "Ballers," seemed unclear, especially when the creative team neglected to embrace my suggestion of turning it into a slasher movie with LeBron murdering the greatest champions in basketball history.
However, after two championships, unquestioned status as the best player in the NBA, and a return to broad popularity, "Ballers" is a workable idea once again. The movie also has an ostensible star signed to play LeBron's brother. From Jeff Sneider for TheWrap (via Vulture ):
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The NBA is currently in the midst of an unfortunate, bizarre period of high-profile broken hand injuries. As our Dan Devine noted on Monday, the New Orleans Hornets' Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers' J.J. Redick, and the Brooklyn Nets' Paul Pierce have all suffered broken hands that will keep them out for at least a few weeks each. All three teams will feel those players' absences, but it's also a shame for basketball fans everywhere.
On Tuesday night, another notable player joined that group. In the third quarter of the Charlotte Bobcats 89-82 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks , second-year wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft, suffered a broken left hand. The official announcement:
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Miami Heat guard Roger Mason Jr. and his family members were victims of an armed robbery at a Miami restaurant on Sunday night, with the thieves making off with his Rolex watch and his sister's purse. Gunshots were reportedly fired in the incident, but nobody was hit.
The robbery took place at Ni.Do. Caffe, an Italian restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard, after the Heat's 99-98 win over the Charlotte Bobcats, according to Dawn Brooks of Miami ABC affiliate WLPG Local 10 :
According to police, four suspects barged into the restaurant and robbed all patrons of their valuables.
On Monday, police recognized a black Cadillac Escalade as the vehicle that was used in the getaway after the robbery. When they attempted to pull the vehicle over, the driver refused and a chase began.
The driver and one passenger were finally apprehended at NW 148th Street and 18th Avenue after ramming a police cruiser, which caused the offending vehicle to stop.
One of the men was slightly injured, but was treated at the scene.
Among the items recovered by police were a Rolex with a serial number matching Mason's watch and the purse stolen from Mason's sister.
"Everything is recovered," said Miami Police Officer Fredericka Burden, according to WSVN-TV . "It is very rare and we think the public actually gave us information, the people that actually witnessed the robbery and the way our detectives responded to it, it turned out perfect."
Police said the two men — 32-year-old Rashaud Stroud and 30-year-old Steven Dawson — have been charged with armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm while committing a felony, according to NBC Miami . Dawson's also been charged with possession of stolen property, and Stroud apparently "admitted to the robbery after his arrest," according to an arrest report obtained by NBC Miami. Police continue searching for the two other suspects involved, according to Local 10 .
Mason hasn't yet commented publicly on the incident — he'll reportedly speak with the media on Tuesday before the Heat take on the Detroit Pistons — but his coach offered some brief thoughts, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel :
"It was a scary moment,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “We talked about it as a team. Thankfully, they came out of it [unharmed]. You have to count your blessings sometimes. There are so many unpredictable things that can happen when you think you’re just going out for a nice dinner. Thankfully, everybody is safe and two of the people have been caught.”
Mason isn't the first Heat player to fall prey to a criminal attack in recent memory. Last season, Chris Bosh's Miami Beach home was burglarized , with an estimated $340,000 worth of items stolen while he was celebrating his 29th birthday; 10 days later, teammate Udonis Haslem's South Florida home was also burglarized .
“We’ll continue to talk about it,” Spoelstra said, according to Winderman . “This brings it back to light and awareness will certainly have to be something that our guys understand.”
The 33-year-old Mason has played sparingly in his first season in Miami, making six appearances for the 14-3 Heat and averaging three points and one assist per game.
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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter!
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