From “apparently” nude women in bathtubs to pouring vodka on the floor of a Las Vegas nightclub, ESPN’s Arash Markazi penned a night-in-the-life discourse on former Cavalier LeBron James and his close friends. But just moments later, he didn’t.
After only several minutes of being a live link on ESPN’s Los Angelese affiliate site, the Markazi piece had inexplicably vanished. But, in a fashion that LeBron James knows all too well following the Jordan Crawford “Dunkgate” tapes from a year ago, the Internet always wins.
Not exactly casting James in the best of light as a professional or as a father of two, it is easily understood why this piece would top the list of the Greatest Hits that have come out since “The Decision.” Alas, the piece was disseminated rapidly on Twitter, posted on message boards and even encapsulated in to image files. Clips of the piece can be found after the jump. An explination as to why the post is no longer in original form will likely not be found anywhere anytime soon. Have at it, folks.
Five security guards are stationed around him, one at each corner of the table he’s about to sit at and another roving around with him, watching his every move. Anyone who takes two steps toward James is stopped and must have James’ approval to come closer.
The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder.
She wants to take a picture with him. “I can’t right now,” says James. “Maybe later, upstairs, I’ll remember you’re the one with the tattoo.”
When trays of dessert plates are brought over, James gets up, preferring to start his party upstairs instead of indulging in the giant fortune cookies and chocolate cake. A security guard comes over and puts plastic wristbands on our wrists and escorts us through the back of the restaurant, up a flight of stairs in the bowels of the hotel and through a back entrance into the club. About a dozen security guards, moving their flash lights, direct us to a roped off section on the dance floor of Tao next to a couple of apparently nude women in a bathtub full of water and rose petals.
James, now wearing sunglasses in the dark club, immediately stands up on the couch and folds his arms high on his chest and nods his head. He smiles as he looks at the dozens of people crowded on the dance floor. Noticing him, they stop dancing and snap pictures as the DJ screams out, “LeBron James in the building!” and plays LMFAO’s “I’m in Miami.”
Carter, LeBron’s childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, “KING.” Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.
James’ infamous one-hour special, “The Decision,” was reportedly the brainchild of Carter, a 28-year-old who has never managed anyone outside of his friend James. This three-day party marathon in Vegas (which James is being paid six figures to host) is also Carter’s idea.
Bottle after bottle of “Ace of Spades” champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he’s dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James’ No. 6 Miami Heat jersey.
James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter’s last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, “I wish they’d have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy.”
Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James’ party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the “King” sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.
Davis shakes his head and walks on.
(Update: Per CNBC’s Darren Rovell, ESPN claims that the draft of Markazi’s piece was “inadvertently published.” No word on if the image, caption and link to said piece were also inadvertent and if/when the surely to-be edited piece will hit the digital site)
(Many thanks to Matthew LaWell for the help)