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Leonsis: LeBron hype has been "over the top"

Ted Leonsis has a friendly relationship with LeBron James. He took Alex Ovechkin to meet James in the locker room after a Cavs-Wizards game. He got James to blurb his book. Still, he joins every sentient being not on James's payroll -- or named Stuart Scott or Jim Gray -- in thinking that last week's mayhem was a bit much.

"I think the hype's been over the top," Leonsis told Comcast SportsNet's Chris Miller in Las Vegas Tuesday night. "The Three Kings I had to chuckle at, I said it's just become like a religious movement now or something. You've still got to play the games. And in basketball, really really good teams go eight, nine deep. And so Miami still has work to do. Certainly those are three unbelievably talented players, but teams win. It'll be interesting to see how this social experiment works out."

Critics have frequently linked James and Ovechkin as flashy players who win individual and scoring awards but have yet to win a team championship. But when Leonsis was asked about James's decision-making process, he offered up Ovechkin as a contrast.

"There by the grace of God go I," he said. "Alex Ovechkin was a two-time MVP player, and he could have filed eventually for free agency. And he believed in what we were doing and loved the fan base in Washington and signed a long-term contract. So I felt bad for Cleveland, I felt bad for Dan [Gilbert].

"At the same time, the players created this right to be able to go wherever they want when they're unrestricted free agents, so I can't have any opinion on it. LeBron went where he wanted to go, and so life goes on for the league. He's got a full plate in Miami, and now Cleveland has to figure out what they're going to do. It's not like I'm feeling bad for any of these teams. I've got my own things to worry about."

Yeah, like whether Hilton Armstrong is really the dangerous No. 2 center fans have been clamoring for....

Miller also asked Leonsis about John Wall, referring to him by the "Game Changer" nickname the team has relentlessly used in marketing materials.

"He's still young and we don't want to put too much responsibility on him," Leonsis said, "but he's certainly one of the foundational pieces that we're gonna rebuild the team around."

I guess "Game Changer" looks better on a massive banner than "one of the foundational pieces that we're gonna rebuild the team around."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 13, 2010; 9:35 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Wizards  
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Next: When Steinbrenner wanted baseball in Washington


No Haynesworth quotes??

Posted by: HogsHaven | July 13, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm doing a full-on boycott of ESPN and ESPN programming right now because of the LeBron situation. For the World Cup last Sunday, I watched the Univision feed. I felt their announcers were more exciting, anyway (although i couldn't understand what they were saying). I've been watching the blonde girl on SportsDay on CSN lately (don't know her name, but she must be new). I get sports news more online, now. ESPN has become a joke.

Posted by: RojoJohnson | July 13, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

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