You may have heard that LeBron James got a little ow-ee on his head during Cleveland’s Game 4 loss in the NBA Finals on Thursday night. He plowed into an NBA TV cameraman on the baseline after a hard foul by Golden State’s Andrew Bogut in the second quarter.

After the play, you may also have seen a rather angry-seeming man cursing out the cameraman for, I dunno, sitting in his assigned spot or something. (Warning: He uses naughty words in this clip.)

He wasn’t done being angry at anyone and everyone, apparently.

Mr. Happy here is Lynn Merritt, who is James’s brand manager at Nike. He has, shall we say, a history of protecting James from the camera’s probing eye.


In 2009, word got out that two videographers at the LeBron James Skills Academy had filmed Xavier’s Jordan Crawford dunking on James. God forbid this footage of LeBron getting dunked on get out, right? So Merritt went around and confiscated the footage, as documented at the time by Jeff Goodman of

Freelance photographer Ryan Miller was one of the cameramen shooting the game.
He told that Nike Basketball Senior Director Lynn Merritt took his tape.
“He just said, ‘We have to take your tape,'” Miller said. “They took it from other guys, too.”
Worth noting is that there is no policy against filming at the LeBron James Skills Academy, and Miller said he had been filming all day without incident. Nobody ever told him to stop. Nobody ever said there was a problem … until after Crawford dunked on James.
“LeBron called Lynn over and told him something,” Miller said. “That’s how I knew his name was Lynn. LeBron said, ‘Hey, Lynn. Come here.'”
Minutes later, Miller said Merritt demanded his tape.
“There’s nothing I can think of besides LeBron just not wanting it online,” Miller said. “It’s a good story to tell people, I guess. But then again, I’m kind of pissed. I lost my tape.”

Goodman said Merritt wasn’t exactly forthcoming about his actions.

Miller had some fun with Thursday night’s events on Twitter.

Bogut, for one, thinks James’s injury wasn’t his fault or that cameraman’s fault, for that matter. He says James brought the injury upon himself in an attempt to sell the foul (which was utterly unnecessary).

Here’s USA Today’s Sam Amick:

“I think he jumped into the cameraman,” Bogut said when asked to give his perspective on the play. “Yeah, I think he came down and took two steps and then fell into the cameraman. I definitely, definitely didn’t hit him that hard.”
When the reporter replied by saying, “That’s how you saw it?” Bogut said, “No, that’s how it was. If you look at the replay, you can see the two steps being taken and then him falling into the camera. That’s what we saw on the replay, and that’s what my teammates saw.”
Considering the size of the stakes, it wouldn’t shock anyone if James was trying to exaggerate contact as a way to possibly inspire a Flagrant 2 call. Bogut openly wondered if that was James’ motivation, noting repeatedly how there were two steps before his head made contact with the camera. ESPN/ABC commentator Mike Breen had a more innocuous take on the matter, saying during the telecast that “James just lost his balance.”