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Friday, October 26, 2007
TrueHoop Dance-Off


OK. Next week, as the NBA season begins on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Dallas Mavericks.

It occurs to me that this will be a meeting of two of the NBA's best-known dancers.

There is no shortage of Mark Cuban dancing footage these days. I have a feeling that even before his trick hip, he was a guy who did not glide across the dance floor. But I'll be honest: seeing him take his cloddy tendencies and turn himself into at least a viable back-of-the-pack contender on an actual dance show -- that was something of a triumph of hard work that I feel was worth applauding.

It's like your local garbage man coming in fourteenth in a NASCAR race. Not spectacular, but amazing in its way.

Cuban also has an ego the size of Texas, which is actually admirable in this setting, where the call is to trot out there and assume America will LOVE watching you do something you're not all that good at.

Representing Cleveland, on the other hand, is one LeBron James, who has been dancing on video more and more lately. There was the super bizarre Saturday Night Live Solid Gold skit (that video seems to have been removed from YouTube -- a victory for James).

James was something of a player in that famous All-Star Weekend Dance-Off with Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard.

Let's just admit right now that no one is likely to touch O'Neal when it comes to presence on the dance floor. The man just knew what to do.

It's clear, however, that James has some moves, too. With the training Cuban put in, he'd be a contender on whatever dance show you have.

In the meantime, you wish he had Cuban's relentlessness conviction that America wanted so badly to see him perform.

That'll come with age. Ask O'Neal.

And there's a glimpse of it in this old footage of James singing and dancing along to a BeeGees tune. He doesn't know the words, and he doesn't care. He's singing anyway.

Put it all together and you get ... two flawed dancers, I guess. But, you know, who's better?