[LeBron James] surprised many when he was not bothered that a fan sprinted into the Cavs' huddle last week at Madison Square Garden. In fact, James embraced the moment by shaking hands with the young man.
It probably didn't thrill the NBA, which has taken steps to fortify security around team benches since the brawl in Detroit in 2004.
Neither probably will this: A source said Anthony Erskine, 17, who ran across the floor and past several guards in a James replica jersey, is about to get even closer to his idol.
Erskine has been in touch with James' representatives, and there are plans for him to be James' guest Wednesday when the Cavaliers visit the New Jersey Nets. There might be a private meeting between the two.
''He had something he wanted to say to me and he got it out before they took him away,'' James said. ''I respect him and his pride.''
On FanHouse, where I first learned about this, Brett Edwards is talking like an insurance executive:
It's a horrible decision to reward illegal and unsafe behavior by fans at an NBA arena like this. Let's hope the league steps in and prevents this from actually happening. Otherwise, I'm afraid LeBron's opening the door for many more instances like this to occur, and there's a good chance that they all won't end as happily as this one.
I say use your judgment. Fans, I imagine, run up to LeBron James out of the blue every day. He knows this scenario. He knows how to talk to teenagers. He knows what is in the cards here. This one fan just happened to pick a moment when TV cameras, NBA security, and the media could all make a big deal out of it. But it's probably something that happens almost every time James goes to a mall.
But in the end, if James has time to meet this dude, I suspect it will not end badly. I suspect it will end with awkward small talk that will prove both people involved are human, and that's not a bad thing.
UPDATE: Turns out it's much ado about nothing. The Akron Beacon-Journal has an important new piece of news:
On Tuesday, the Beacon Journal reported that Anthony Erskine, the fan who charged the court last week in New York, would be a guest of James at tonight's game. A James spokesman said Erskine will be at the game tonight but not as a guest of James, who has declined a meeting with the 17-year-old.