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Friday, July 24, 2009
Updated: July 27, 10:24 AM ET
Nike: LeBron dunk tapes to be returned

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Nike says it is returning videotapes it confiscated of NBA star LeBron James getting dunked on at a recent basketball camp.

Nike said it is giving back tapes to two accredited journalists who filmed Xavier's Jordan Crawford dunking over James during a recent pickup game at a skills academy run by the superstar at the University of Akron. The sports apparel giant said only one of the tapes captured the infamous dunk, which has been an Internet sensation.

Nike said it took the tapes based on its media guidelines that no pickup games be filmed.

This week, videos emerged of Crawford's dunk in which he drove the lane and slammed over James, who was not guarding him and was the last defender between Crawford and the basket.

In its statement, Nike said it did not take the footage because James was dunked on.

"It was never about the play or the player, it was always about our media policy," Nike said. "The interest in the tapes has greatly overshadowed the focus of the camp, which is to help young athletes improve their skills, and that is regrettable. It was Nike's decision to take these tapes based on our media guidelines, which we will continue to enforce."

There was general disappointment in Crawford's dunk among online viewers when it began appearing on various Web sites in recent days. Crawford beat another defender down the lane and was able to gather himself before finishing over James, the current league MVP who has been subjected to worse treatment by his pro peers.