How LeBron is wielding an influence never before seen in the NBA – Yahoo Sports

LeBron James, going to the bucket against Carmelo Anthony, likes being a power player off the court as well. (AP)

CLEVELAND – In the uneasy moments lurching toward tipoff, the neatly manicured mythology of LeBron James‘ homecoming flickered on the spectacular screen suspended over the Q Arena floor. All around, the shoe company’s commercial played out with thousands upon thousands of Clevelanders surrounding the prodigal son in the Cavaliers’ huddle, thousands more reaching out, across blocks and streets, responding to the superstar’s declarations of duty about winning a championship for them.

No one does fairy tales like Nike, an unapologetic peddling of product for a summer transaction. The most conditional kind of love washed down onto James upon his Cavaliers return on Thursday night, Northeast Ohio determined to distill romance out of something that was far more a free-agent power play than the storybook journey home that it’s been framed.

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LeBron James, going to the bucket against Carmelo Anthony, likes being a power player off the court as well. (AP) …

For James’ genius standards, this was a flat, flawed debut – an abysmal performance born of nerves and newness. The Cavaliers lost to the New York Knicks, and James had never looked so pressed and uneasy. From eight turnovers to missing eight of nine shots to start, even the sprawling hype of this night overwhelmed a four-time MVP and two-time champion. This is a new pressure, and for a night anyway, it was palpable.

“This was great, but I’m glad it’s over,” James said.

Yes, James loves this region, but give him this too: The world’s best basketball player is testing the reach of the iconic athlete into athletic and coaching representation, pursuing power and control that no active athlete’s ever dared.

His childhood friend-turned agent, Rich Paul, oversees Klutch Sports, a Cleveland-based agency that exists out of …read more

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