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Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

LeBron James

LeBron James

These days it’s hard to turn on the TV and not hear an ESPN talking head evangelize the many virtues of “King James.”

After the Blazers fell to the Houston Rockets in the first round I’ve been forced to surf basketball channels and find another team to rally behind other than the “bad boyz” of Los Angeles.  Let me start off by saying that I actually like the 6-foot-9 NBA star LeBron James.  I like the way he plays and he is good.  Very good.  So good in fact that he was named NBA Rookie of the year in 2003-04, NBA MVP in 2008-09 and has been both All-NBA and the All-Star every season since 2005.  On the US men’s national basketball team he has won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and a gold at the 2008 Olympics

At just 18, LeBron was selected with the number one pick in the 2003 NBA draft by the Cavaliers and signed a $90M shoe contract with Nike before his professional debut.  Does Nike know how to pick ‘em or what?!  The Cavs have so dominated the competition this year that every game has been won in double digits, a record, and none of their playoff games have come with any drama.  There are all the no-look passes, the step-back 3-pointers from 10’ behind the arc and the reverse dunks.  Is there anyone else on the team roster that you can remember his name?  It’s as if the arm-swinging cloud of talcum powder halo follows him everywhere. It’s important to note that King James Inc. (LeBron’s wholly owned company) organizes many charity events including the annual King for Kids Bike-a-thon in Akron, Ohio.

Salary_CompareBut in these recessionary times, employee cuts and school district sacrifices along with budget shortfalls the message of collective sacrifice seems to have missed the NBA and pro athletes.  LeBron will be paid $14.4M this season by the Cavs and his annual earnings off the court were estimated by Forbes magazine at $14M.  The enormous magnitude of salary differential really hit home when I compared salaries using the Cleveland Ohio Statistics calculator.  For example, I plugged in an aspirational blogger salary of $100K. Based on 45 years of work per lifetime it would take  6.31 lifetimes to equal LeBron’s pay for just one season!  ONE SEASON!!  Let me bring it even closer for you.  Based on a 40 hour work week, LeBron’s hourly pay is $13,658.93 vs. $48.08 on a very respectable $100K annual salary.  He made over $6800 in the time it took to write this post.  Looking to raise your blood pressure?  Play with the calculator HERE

Call me crazy, but I suspect LeBron isn’t much concerned about today’s US Postal Service increase of a first-class stamp going to $0.44 cents.

Photo courtesy Nike and Cleveland.com.

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Harley-Davidson XR-750

Harley-Davidson XR-750

During my visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum earlier this summer I spied a XR-750 hanging from the ceiling.  Turns out it’s a replica of the one that motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel (Robert Craig Knievel Jr.) used at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1973 when he attempted to jump a 50-car tower. 

Evel having a colorful life is a huge understatement.  Born in Butte, Montana he battled the IRS and Montana over allegedly unpaid taxes; survived abandonment by his parents, who left him with grandparents at 6 months old; endured jail, bankruptcy and divorce – he even ran over a Hells Angel – and survived to tell the story!  The official Knievel web site is HERE.

Evel Knievel Records

Evel Knievel Records

Evel passed away last year, but as a small tike, I can remember to this day the excitement of watching that X-2 Skycycle launch over the Snake River Canyon to be followed with disappointment of the parachute accidentally deploying and to land only a few feet from the water on the side of the canyon.

In an effort to break Evel’s record, last weekend Bubba Blackwell (the professional daredevil) set the record and jumped 52-cars in front of a crowd of more than 6,000 at the Deep South Speedway on his modified Harley-Davidson XR-750.  It was also his birthday.  Next up for Bubba has to be getting his life interpreted via rock opera format?  Then you’re golden.

Congrats Bubba in setting a new record and happy (belated) birthday!

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