The editor of Philadelphia magazine, Larry Platt, is an accomplished NBA writer. (I'm constantly amazed that his book about Allen Iverson, Only the Strong Survive, isn't discussed more often. It completely changed how I see Allen Iverson.) In an undated GQ article (it looks like it's about a year old) Platt takes on LeBron James. It's a fantastic and serious bit of reporting--a must read for any fan of James.
But Platt had to know when he wrote it that this is the part people would talk about the most:
Over the next hour, LeBron devours a stack of pancakes, a side of sausage, and a mound of sliced bananas. At one point, he lifts his left ass cheek and rips a resounding, staccato fart, then looks up at Mary Ford, the young, attractive handler from his agent's office. "Damn, Mary, don't be fartin'," he says, and the other three Horsemen fall all over themselves laughing.
On another note entirely, Platt also provides a great little synopsis of everything that's wrong with the NBA that the league needs LeBron James to try to fix--or at least distract people from: (This is the kind of thing that makes NBA PR people perspire.)
Despite commissioner David Stern's rosy assessment of the current state of the NBA he points out that revenues are in the billions, and attendance and scoring are up the league is facing its biggest image crisis since the late '70s. The losses in the Olympics to less talented but more cohesive teams were a public humiliation. At the beginning of this season, a new book, Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence & Crime, by Jeff Benedict, reported that as of the 2000"2001 season, 40 percent of the league's players had had a formal complaint for a serious crime ï¬?led against them. That was followed by the small but widely reported embarrassments of Minnesota's Latrell Sprewell scong at his $14 million salary, saying he had "a family to feed," and Houston's Tracy McGrady being stumped when asked how many bathrooms he had in his mansion. And then came the Brawl. The melee that took place after a Detroit Pistons fan threw a beer at the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest was the grimmest single incident in NBA history, made worse by all the quotes that followed from players voicing sympathy for those who went into the stands after the fans. ("What Ron did, that was self-defense," opined McGrady, as if a tossed cup of Miller High Life were a clear and present danger to the six-foot-seven Artest.) And even more recently, an underground DVD called Stop Snitching came to light, in which a young man in Baltimore rants to the camera that he will "put a hole" in the head of anyone cooperating with the police. Behind him, the Denver Nuggets' Carmelo Anthony can be seen laughing and backslapping. And all of this, remember, comes on the heels of last season, which was most notable for Kobe Bryant's rape case and the Los Angeles Lakers' postseason meltdown and disintegration.
Tracy McGrady doesn't know how many bathrooms he has? That's going to be tough for LeBron James to fix. Good luck, King James.