LeBron James spots up for Cavaliers - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

LeBron James spots up for Cavaliers

By TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - LeBron James grabbed the bullhorn, pressed it to his lips and hollered at patients waiting in a dentist's office, telling them to hurry and buy tickets to see him play.

"Go get 'em. Now," James yelled.

He was only acting.

On Thursday, James recorded a radio commercial for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have become one of the league's hottest commodities since his arrival.

The 18-year-old is the sole reason why the Cavs have sold thousands of season-ticket packages and why they'll be on network television more than a dozen times next season.

"Right now, he's the most popular thing in basketball," Cavs forward Carlos Boozer said.

And for perhaps the first time in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are stealing some thunder from the Browns and Indians.

"People stop us on the street now and ask questions," said center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who with Boozer and James recorded radio ads for the team that will start running next week. "People are excited. Usually, nobody cared about us."

After Boozer taped his message, it was James' turn in the soundproof booth. He put on a set of headphones and examined the script, which had him barking instructions to the prospective dental patients.

As he does during a fast break on the court, James did a little improvising. The script called for him to close by saying, "and take some floss with you."

James added, "take some peppermint floss with you" and "it helps your breath, too."

James was a natural, as usual.

Next week, James will film some television commercials for the Cavs, whose season-ticket base reportedly dropped to 3,000 and whose overall attendance plummeted last season to a league low of slightly more than 11,000 per game.

James said he soon will film commercials for Sprite, the soft drink which recently signed him to a six-year, multimillion-dollar endorsement deal.

"I'm going to save my acting for that," he said.

Since being drafted by the Cavs, James has been on a whirlwind tour. He played on Cleveland's summer league team, attended the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles and the MTV Awards in New York and went to Hawaii for a vacation.

"I got my rest there," he said of Hawaii. "That was great. I just don't like salt water."

He's having a ball.

"Everything that is happening now is great," he said. "I'm in the happiest position I've ever been in."

James was in New York when the Aug. 14 blackout paralyzed the city.

"That was crazy," he said.

While in New York, James spent time with the U.S. Olympic basketball team. Although he's not on the roster, James would love the opportunity to represent his country in Greece in 2004.

"Oh, yeah, definitely," he said. "I wish I would have made it this year. I hope I can next year."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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