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Sports Blotter: the King James version

LeBron's Mom pulls a Carlo
By MATT TAIBBI  |  May 24, 2006


In the most highly anticipated sports trial since the Marv Albert overbite case, Gloria James, mother of burgeoning NBA media supernova LeBron James, will finally face justice for her role in what has been hands down the most interesting sports DUI of the year.

You know those commercials in which LeBron plays the roles of all four family members in a quirky fictional Nike homestead? Who knows? That cinematographic innovation may have come about because Gloria James was at the time kicking and screaming in the back of an Akron police cruiser, hence unavailable for the shoot. The January 20 incident was remarkable on a number of levels, the first and most obvious being its surprising volatility. It’s hoped that all of the details will come out at trial, but for now the crux of the story mostly has to be deduced from the list of charges, which include operating a vehicle while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, reckless operation, speeding, and “molestation of police equipment.”

The last charge is the most interesting one, as LeBron’s mom not only struggled with officers, but, during said struggle, also allegedly pulled a variation of a Carlo-from-The Godfather move and kicked a police-car window out of place. This is noteworthy because in the whole history of sports crime, only two all-star performers have managed to actually kick a police-car window out of place — and both guys were a hell of a lot bigger than Gloria James.

The first was noted NHL penalty-minutes champ and depraved goon Peter Worrell, who was once busted on a criminal-mischief charge for kicking out a cruiser window. (He did 10 days in jail for the offense in 2002.) A former Carolina Hurricane and Florida Panther, Worrell, who is 6’7” and black, entered the pantheon of great sports criminals just two years ago, when he brazenly tried to pass himself off as his much shorter, white Swedish teammate Andres Lilja, following a traffic stop for driving with an expired tag. In a curious footnote, Lilja himself was subsequently arrested in Europe on sexual-assault charges; he did not try to claim he was Worrell upon capture.

THE GODMOTHER: Gloria James allegedly pulled a Carlo by kicking out the windshield of a police cruiser

The other great window kicker was onetime New York Jet and Cincinnati Bengal offensive lineman Matt O’Dwyer. The 300-pound O’Dwyer was arrested with fellow Jets Jason Fabini and Jumbo Elliott in one of the most celebrated NFL bar fights in history, the July 1999 brawl at the Long Island bar Bogart’s. The Bogart’s fracas was notable because it took an army of cops to subdue the three Jets; Fabini, after starting the brawl by urinating in the sink in the women’s bathroom, allegedly punched a female firefighter before the night was over. O’Dwyer was eventually sued by policemen for “damaging the eyes” of restraining officers, who were allegedly injured when he kicked out the cruiser window, causing glass — again allegedly — to fly in their eyes. The case was ultimately settled, but O’Dwyer was forced to pay $3473 in restitution for the window.

James’s lawyers are now fighting to have a security videotape from an Akron gas station admitted; they claim the video is exculpatory and are fighting the case to the end. We’ll see if James has to pay restitution for the car damage ...

In a story that almost defies commentary, seven-foot Florida State basketball recruit Jon Kreft was arrested last week on drug-and-traffic charges after he was caught hiding marijuana in his car and cocaine in his rectum.

The outline of the case is as follows: Kreft was pulled over for a traffic stop. Officers observed him reaching under the seat of the car. He consented to a search, and the officers found marijuana under the seat. Kreft then volunteered to police that he had “something else” — at which point he bent over and spread his buttocks, and a baggie with 1.7 grams of coke fell out.

My question here is, who was doing the coke with Kreft? And did he or she know where he was keeping it?

Kreft, an up-and-coming prep star who just played in the prestigious Jordan Classic, may now lose his scholarship. When you’re too hot for Florida State, you know you have problems.

060526_blot3What about Bob?
The Phoenix has to give it up for Bob Reno, editor of the invaluable column, who scored a nationwide scoop recently by publishing some outstanding photos of the Northwestern women’s-soccer-team initiation photos — note the lap dance/spit-swapping ritual. Reno’s site is unsurpassed in its efforts to publish exclusive pictures of athletes in compromising positions; nice to see him get some ink. Check out his photos of the Quinnipiac men’s-baseball team, the Catholic University women’s-lacrosse team (what is it about lacrosse this year?), and more, at

When he's not googling "Florida State" and "Cocaine" and "Rectum," Matt Taibbi is writing for Rolling Stone. He can be reached at

  Topics: Sports , Gloria James , Matt O'Dwyer , Florida Panthers ,  More more >
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