Ref under investigation for posing with LeBron James

By JEFF LINKOUS, Associated Press Writer
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A referee is under investigation after he posed for a photograph on the court with high school star LeBron James following a tournament game last weekend.
The president of the central New Jersey chapter of the
International Association of Approved Basketball Officials
confirmed Tuesday the organization is investigating the actions of referee Tony Celantano.
James, expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, posed with his right arm draped around Celantano's shoulder. A slight grin is on James' face.
"We're just trying to sort out all the facts," said Fred
Dumont, the organization's president.
While no written rule was violated, it is accepted practice that officials do not pose for pictures with players, Dumont said. He said he spoke with Celantano, who concluded he should have shown better judgment.
Dumont expects a ruling in two days to a week. He declined to specify what sanctions could be imposed. Celantano, 27-year veteran, remains eligible to officiate, Dumont said.
"He's still free to be a referee and happens to be an
outstanding referee," Dumont said. "He's a very professional person; he's an experienced official."
Celantano told The Times of Trenton the photo was taken by a relative and was not for personal use. After officiating another high school game Sunday, Celantano told the newspaper he sought an autograph from James for a friend's child.
Celantano did not immediately return a message left at his
Hamilton home Tuesday by The Associated Press.
James (pictured, above) scored a career-high 52 points leading St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron, Ohio, in a 78-52 victory over Westchester of Los Angeles in the Prime Time Shootout, the 6-foot-8 senior's his first action since an Ohio judge restored his high school eligibility nearly a week ago.
"I was at the game," Dumont said. "I don't have a problem
with how the game was officiated."
The Ohio High School Athletic Association had revoked James' eligibility for accepting two sports jerseys valued at $845 from a Cleveland clothing store. Four days earlier, the association ruled that James hadn't violated any rules by accepting a $50,000 Hummer sport utility vehicle from his mother as an 18th birthday present.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)