If you haven't read it yet, go check out the piece that Walter Iooss Jr. just wrote for Sports Illustrated. If you're unfamiliar with dude, he's a certified G who has been photographing athletes for SI for 50 years now and he's covered everyone in the world of sports. So, of course, he has about a million and one stories to tell. And he tells a lot of them in that piece. There's great stuff in there about Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Muhammad Ali. But one of the stories that's sticking out to a lot of people right now concerns LeBron James. Apparently, Iooss Jr. shot James for SI in 2003 and 2009 and, in his piece, he notes the distinct difference in King James each time. But then he makes some pretty startling accusations about LBJ in a story about the time he shot him in July 2010 for a Nike commercial. We'll let him tell it:

"Times change, and sadly, LeBron became a villain to many after The Decision. I’ve seen a lot of entourages, but none like his. In July 2010 I got an assignment from Nike to shoot LeBron right after his TV special announcing his move to the Heat. We rented the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, where the Lakers and the Clippers used to play, and there were 53 people on my crew — including hair and makeup artists, production people, a stylist. I had $10,000 in Hollywood lighting. It was huge. When LeBron arrived, it was as if Nelson Mandela had come in. Six or seven blacked-out Escalades pulled up, a convoy. LeBron had bodyguards and his masseuse. His deejay was already there, blasting. This for a photo shoot that was going to last an hour, tops.

This is how crazy it was: I wasn’t even allowed to talk directly to LeBron. There was a liaison, someone from Amar’e Stoudemire’s family. I would say to him, “O.K., have LeBron drive right,” and then he’d turn to LeBron and say, “LeBron, go right.”

LeBron had guards in the portals on the mezzanine level, talking into their hands. Really, what was going to happen? And then at the end of the shoot they all got in the Escalades. My God, I’ve been around Michael Jordan, but with him nothing even came close to this. Unimaginable."

Crazy, right? We can't say that we're super surprised. But if Iooss Jr.'s story is accurate—and we have no reason to believe that it isn't—is there any question why LeBron is one of the most hated men in sports right now?

[via Off The Bench]

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