Dunked On or Not, LeBron James and Nike Right to Take Tapes

M. S.Correspondent IJuly 12, 2009

ORLANDO, FL - MAY 30: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts after a play against the Orlando Magic in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 30, 2009 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Last week, Xavier’s redshirt sophomore Jordan Crawford was participating in an after-practice scrimmage at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Akron, Ohio. 

Crawford, formerly of Indiana, had an outstanding week of drills and games that NBA scouts alike were able to watch and take note of. 

The highlight of his week really came when he supposedly dunked on LeBron James who had tried to block Crawford on the flush.

The dunk occurred 20 minutes into the two-hour scrimmage, and after the dunk, the players continued playing their game as usual. 

The dunk came to light when it was revealed that Nike officials had confiscated two different tapes of the dunk and the rest of the scrimmage.

According to the Nike officials, the reason they took the tapes had nothing to do with the facial that LeBron received via the 20-year-old.  The officials were quoted as saying:

“Unfortunately, for the first time in four years, two journalists did not respect our ‘no videotaping’ policy at an after-hours pick-up game Monday evening following the LeBron James Skills Academy.”

Ryan Miller, one of the journalists that was filming the game, claims that Nike never told him about the policy and he felt he had done nothing wrong. 

Whether Miller was confused by what Nike had told him or whether he was told something incorrect, the fact remains that no videotaping is allowed after the practices.

Jordan Crawford might have dunked on LBJ, but rules are rules when it comes to videotaping.

Jordan Crawford might have dunked on LBJ, but rules are rules when it comes to videotaping.

It isn’t like Nike made up the rule after the dunk had occurred so that the tapes had to be taken away.  Think about it: have you ever seen footage of college players and pro players taking part in a scrimmage? 

The Academy has been running for four years and no one ever misunderstood the rules or filmed during practice.

I’m not going to be blind in knowing that there’s a chance LeBron tried to save his behind by not letting the tape get out.  Can you imagine how many views that footage would get on YouTube? 

However, from a legal standpoint, LeBron and Nike were also trying to save their behinds because Miller and the other cameraman were breaking the rules.

Rules are rules and unfortunately, Miller broke them and was reprimanded for it.  It just so happened that LeBron was dunked on during the rule breaking.

In an era of Youtube, Twitter, and cell phones with video capability, recruiting violations can happen anywhere and at any time. 

With high school prospects in attendance, videotaping was taken very seriously by Nike and they acted on it.

Had this happened during a time when filming was allowed, there’s a great chance (can’t be positive) that LeBron would have gotten a chuckle out of it when he saw it air everywhere on ESPN.

The other problem I have with how this is all being handled is when LBJ is compared to MJ in this situation.

Everywhere I have read and people I have talked to tell me that there is no way Jordan would have let something like this happen, that he would have taken his poster dunk like a man and wouldn’t have tried to hide like LeBron did.

I realize that wearing No. 23 and No. 9 in the Olympics and just about EVERYTHING else has LeBron compared to Jordan, but there’s no way these two players can be compared in this stance. 

As was mentioned before, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and any other form of communication has made it possible for everything to be reported.

Had this happened to Jordan in 1990 in a gym in Akron, Ohio, it might have made the back page of the Akron Beacon Journal sports section.

Does a guy like LeBron really need to save his ego and rep?  Did he think that when people saw this dunk they would put their Cavs jerseys on eBay in exchange for a No. 55 Xavier jersey?  I don’t think so.