We are all witnesses. But not everything about the LeBron is worth witnessing. Sure, he has the $400,000 car, Jay-Z in his corner, and Phil Knight wrapped around his diamond pinkie ring. But witness how His Greatness treats the little people, and you may begin to see the virtue of Brendan Haywood's hard fouls.
One of LeBron's favorite places to dine is XO Prime Steaks on West Sixth. Its mix of swank drinks and delicately massaged beef allows the Chosen One to consume calories worthy of his royal digestive system. All of which is swell — except that LeBron is among Cleveland's stingiest tippers.
According to a Punch source, a peer recently quit after tiring of LeBron going Scrooge McDuck on his ass.
It went down like this: LeBron pulls up in his Mercedes outside XO. People stop and try not to stare, but c'mon, it's LeBron James. He enters the restaurant with a group of friends. On this special occasion, the King decides to dine late. He keeps his group there until around 3:45 a.m. During this time the waiter obsequiously pours drinks and fetches anything else His Greatness needs.
The final bill comes to $800. By the feudal laws of decorum, which stipulate that the affluent should administer a 20 percent gratuity, staffers figured they'd be pocketing an extra $160. But when they fetched the autographed bill after His Heinousness bolted back to Akron, their expectation turned to disbelief, then anger.
LeBron stiffed them with a meager $10 tip. This is what French nobles like to call your requisite Bourgeois Bitch-Slap. The waiter wouldn't even take it, tired of being shat on by guys like LeBron.
Still, at least the self-proclaimed King of Ohio didn't pull a Bernie Kosar — who gets sloshed at the bar and then has to remind the waiters of who he is before he stiffs them.
Ichiro on C-Town
Seattle Mariners center fielder and Japanese demigod Ichiro Suzuki is known for the almost mystical quotes he relays through his interpreter. When asked about facing Boston pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, a former Japanese league rival, Ichiro responded: "I hope he arouses the fire that's dormant in the innermost recesses of my soul."
Needless to say, you will not hear interviews like this during the NBA playoffs.
But last year, Ichiro's mouth got him into a bit of trouble in Cleveland. When the Seattle-Tribe series was snowed out, the Mariners were stranded at a downtown hotel and were forced to make three additional trips to Cleveland for makeup games. So it's understandable why Ichiro told a reporter, "If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."
Yet Clevelanders aren't about to provide passes for these kinds of slights. Tribe fans have heartily booed Ichiro ever since. So last week, Punch caught up with Ichiro to see if he's revised his thoughts on the Cradle of Civilization-Rust Belt Division.
"As you know, we came to Cleveland many more times than were expected," said Ichiro through his interpreter — after they shared a long, animated discussion in Japanese. "To come all the way from Seattle, as you can imagine, is a headache. That's what I meant by the statement. But the way the fans understood it, they became angry. I think all the booing and the screaming was entertaining for the fans, so I don't think it was a bad thing. And, if I was a fan, I'd boo me too."
But, we pressed, what do you think of Cleveland?
"Looking back on it, in the four days I spent here, I found a really cool pair of sneakers. So for that, I like Cleveland."
Score one for Tower City.