If you hadn’t heard by now, Lebron James has released his latest shoe and it is called “Chalk”. Why? Because before every game Lebron James slaps a bit of chalk powder together, throws it in the air like a ballerina and Nike thought it would be good to base a shoe on this. And an ad campaign.

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Nice ad hey? I like it. Lots of black and white footage, afros and dude’s playing street ball. Very cool. Now I showed this to three people at my work today – I work a pretty normal 9-to-5 Clark Kent job – and this is what each of them had to say after the ad finished. I am not making this up.

Person 1 (let’s call him Jono): “Nice. What the hell is it for? Do Nike manufacture chalk now?”
Person 2 (Gazza): “Cool man. At the start I thought he squirted a bottle of lube on his hand and was getting ready to jerk off in front of the whole arena… I like it though”
Person 3 (Emma): “Imagine how much chalk they used in that ad!”

Never mind that Jono is clueless and Gazza is a real life Quagmire, the point is that to the untrained eye this ad seems to have no… point. As a kid I would watch Jordan commercials and feel compelled to go outside and do Jordan moves against my friends. After watching the Lebron commercial I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Should I go bake a cake and throw some flour on my housemate’s face? Does the guy in the commercial at the barbershop have really really bad dandruff? Why did that kid in the classroom bring cocaine for show-and-tell?

It is all a bit odd. Why does Lebron want to be the world renowned chalk slapper anyway? His new shoe even has a silhouette of his chalk toss on the toungue. Well that’s just awesome. Can’t wait to buy some Nike Chalkman branded clothing to show off to my friends. I know he wants to follow in Jordan’s footsteps but somewhere Nike and Lebron forgot the infamous Jumpman shows MJ actually playing basketball, not stroking his ego in some pre-game fairy dust shower.

It’s not even an original move. MJ was the first with a pre-game chalk ritual and more recently KG developed his own chalk habits (see 15 seconds in to this clip). Why fault Lebron when others have gone before him? There’s a bit of a difference. MJ actually needed chalk for his very sweaty man hands. He did the chalk slap over at the scorer’s table right in the face of the Chicago announcers. It was comedy, and I remember watching an old-school NBA video where the Chicago announcers started to come prepared for the ritual – once wearing a gas mask and another time folding out a mini umbrella much to Jordan’s amusement (if anyone can remind me what that video was it would be much appreciated). But that’s all it was. Amusing.

Lebron doesn’t do his chalk toss for amusement. I’m not sure why he does it, and neither does he: “I don’t know why I started throwing it up,” James said. “But it is definitely trademarked.” Hear that? It’s DEFINITELY TRADEMARKED!!! DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT USING THIS MOVE OR LEBRON JAMES WILL KILL YOU!!! Don’t worry Lebron, no one is going to steal your ballet moves. Not now that it’s tattooed on your shoe. I only found out this recently but when Lebron throws his hands in the air the entire section of crowd in front of him mimics his actions as if they’re all worshiping some chalk cult Goddess. On the Christmas day game the whole crowd was given white confetti (complete with instructions) to throw in symphony with Lebron – here’s another clip. Part of me thinks this looks cool. The other part knows it’s extremely gay.

But I’m not hear to rag on Lebron for his harmless ritual. Lots of players have strange habits – Jason Maxiell, for example, likes to eat a small child before each game (hey at least it’s original). But the chalk toss is really starting to annoy me and plenty of other people around the world, especially this dude called Alan Tucker:

Everytime I see his egomaniacal Christ-like pregame performance, not only do I start thinking that even Damon Jones’ finger puppet routine is easier to stomach, but I get an overwhelming urge to hold a seance to summon the spirit of John Wilkes Booth. “Aim for the back of President James’ headband.”

If this was 1986 and Larry Bird saw that bullsh*t nonsense, he would put his pale white foot so far up LeBron’s ass, that fragments of five hick toes would be permanently lodged inside The Golden Child’s tonsils.

Right on Alan, I imagine Luke Hodge would do a similar thing. So I thought the least we could do here at NBAMate was to suggest some alternatives for Lebron – some might even say ‘improvements’ – on the chalk ritual that might appease the people shouting “copycat!” or “pretentious!” or “WTF?!”.

10 Better Ways Lebron Could Use Chalk

1.  He could mix in fairy dust (see above photo). Would look a lot cooler as the light catches the colorful glitter falling through the air. Would also look way more gay.

2.  He could arrange it into lines on the scorers table and snort it (or smoke it). Would bring a whole new meaning to the term “white line fever”.

3.    Instead of chalk powder, Lebron could shove two sticks of chalk up his nose in order to intimidate his opponents by looking more like a jungle animal.

4.    Attach a piece of string to it, pull it out of his shorts during a game, hand it to his opponent and say “could you hold my tampon for a minute?”

5.    He could shove it up his butt which would not only serve to utterly shock the opposing teams, but would also provide a rich source of calcium which is important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Don’t take it from us, just ask a real doctor.

6.  A brilliant suggestion from Snowfall:

I think it would be really great if right before LeBron does his pregame ‘chalk throw’ that he puts on a huge Santa’s hat, and then throws up cotton balls into the air so that it looks like it is snowing. The kids will be reminded of the goodness of Santa Claus, and it will also allow us to reflect on how LeBron is, in many ways, Santa Claus to the people of Cleveland. He symbolically is going to lift that big sack up onto his back, with the biggest goody of all being a Finals Championship. How all of us will rejoice as we get to unwrap the paper folds of this season and the next each round of the playoffs. What would be really cool would be if LeBron would be allowed to wear the Santa hat for the first quarter, which the league probably wouldn’t allow unless the hat had an NBA logo on it and it was for sale in the lobby. But just think about how cool it would be when LeBron gets an open lane to the hoop, and a defender looks out of the corner of his eye and thinks for just a split-second, “Holy S%!#!! Santa Claus is Throwing It Down!!” (to the tune of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town). I think that would be nice, to see LeBron the 6’10″ 270 lb Santa throwing it down on the other team and making their fans understand that the REAL Santa lives in Cleveland, and not the North Pole!

7.  Perhaps Lebron could get his whole team involved – he is supposed to be unselfish after all – and have everyone tossing up chalk at the scorers table. It would lead to a cool illusion where for 3.5 seconds Zydrunas Ilgauskas would completely disappear.

8.  One reader’s take on why Lebron throws powder in the air like the sugarplum fairy? “It’s because they wont let him shoot out of a cannon”. Well, our suggestion is obvious isn’t it? Cover Lebron in chalk and shoot him out of a cannon into a giant blackboard. This is the more manly version of the chalk toss.

9.  Lebron could take a big mouthful of chalk before tip off and when he dunks it on someone’s head proceed to blow a puff of chalk in their face and scream “You got chalked!”, then wipe some chalk off their face, lick it, then slap them in the face.

10. Instead of chalk Lebron could use magnetized white metal filaments, put magnets in his shorts, and when the “chalk” is thrown in the air it would immediately fly towards his man-region. This would serve no other purpose than to look cool and for Lebron to boast that he has steel balls.

There you go Lebron. Hope you found that useful. If anyone else has any chalk-related suggestions for Lebron then please list them here. It may be the only way we can stop the King turning into the Fairy Princess.

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