Not many people in the world would turn down dinner with LeBron James. Even fewer would deny "King" James' request if it came face-to-face.
American swimmer Lauren Perdue did exactly that (via E! Online). At 21 years old, most women would be starstruck upon receiving a dinner invite from the best basketball player on the planet, but Perdue would have none of it.
Here are the details of the encounter (via The Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler):
LeBron did take a liking to Perdue, though, who is a star swimmer at the University of Virginia. So did he really ask her to dinner?
"He did," Perdue said. "He was kind of joking but he was basically like, 'Would you like to come eat with me at the dining hall?' And I said, 'Um, I'm sorry, I have a curfew. So I turned that one down, yeah."
One more note: Perdue said LeBron was "gracious" and certainly didn't imply that he was asking her to anything other than a meal at the Olympic Village dining hall.
Of course, this is a proposition that most people would never pass up on, and it is most certainly worthy of some reporting, but Perdue should not be defined by this occurrence.
Perdue swam in the preliminary heat of the women's 4x200-meter freestyle relay. She combined with three other American swimmers to post the second-fastest time among both heats, giving Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt a golden opportunity to bring home the gold medal.
At only 21, she already has an Olympic gold medal to her name. She didn't get the satisfaction of swimming in the final race, but she was still given a gold for helping the cause.
She should be remembered as an Olympian—and one that helped the United States bring home a medal. She shouldn't be known as the girl who turned down LeBron James' dinner invitation.
It's not as though she turned it down on her own accord. Perdue had a curfew to adhere to and apparently would have returned back to her sleeping quarters late if she had dinner with James.
Perdue is going to have a hard time living this one down when she heads home to the United States. I can only imagine the hard time that her friends will give her for declining to sit down for dinner with James.
She's had a great start to her career, and hopefully there is much more in store for the young swimmer. Either way, no matter which path her career goes down, people shouldn't immediately associate her name with James.