TIME Sports

Nike, Apple, and Coke: LeBron James is a Global Brand

LeBron James has transcended NBA professional to become a global powerhouse

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From the very outset of his career, LeBron James has sought to be more than one of the world’s best basketball players — he has tried to be a global icon and a billionaire athlete.

He hasn’t yet achieved the latter, but there can be no doubt that LeBron James is a global brand.

This is how LeBron James the athlete partnered with a number of prominent companies like Nike, Apple, and Coca-Cola to earn cred as LeBron James, The Businessman.

 

 

TIME

Pictures of the Week: Jul. 25 – Aug. 1

From an Ebola outbreak in Africa and Eid al-Fitr celebrations around the world, to the destruction of underground tunnels in Gaza and people dancing in the streets of North Korea, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Sports

NFL Star Ray Rice on Assault: ‘My Actions Were Inexcusable’

He was charged with third-degree assault

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Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice publicly apologized a second time to his wife after being arrested for allegedly assaulting her. The National Football League suspended Rice for two games this season following the arrest.

“My actions were inexcusable. My actions are something I have to live with for the rest of my life,” he said.

A grand jury indicted Rice in March for third-degree assault after TMZ posted a video of him dragging his unconscious then-fiancée out of an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel. Rice allegedly hit the woman so hard that she fell unconscious. Rice settled the charges by entering a pretrial program, which means he will pay a fine but serve no jail time. Rice’s record will be wiped clean in one year.

In May, Rice and his wife (the two have since married) held a press conference in which she apologized but he did not. The pair drew criticism for perpetuating victim-blaming.

“I didn’t publicly apologize to my wife. I know that hit home for a lot of people,” Rice said during Thursday’s conference. “I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life. Me. She can do no wrong. She’s an angel.”

The NFL has come under fire for only suspending Rice for two games while it has suspended players who smoked marijuana for an entire season. Top sports analysts like Keith Olbermann have spoken out against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for being too lenient on Rice and not taking the issue of domestic violence seriously.

TIME movies

Jamie Foxx Will Reportedly Play Mike Tyson in Upcoming Biopic

Grand Opening Celebration at W Hoboken - Inside
Jaime Foxx performs during the grand opening celebration at The Chandelier Room at W Hoboken Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty

Jamie Foxx has been cast to play Mike Tyson, one of the most polarizing modern sports figures, in an untitled biopic, Variety reports. Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter is set to write the film.

Although details are sparse, Tyson certainly has a wealth of biographical details to mine, including but not limited to: his rise and fall as a heavyweight champion, his six years in jail on rape charges, the Holyfield ear-biting incident, the tragic death of his daughter, his bankruptcy, and his re-entry into pop culture.

This wouldn’t be Foxx’s first foray into boxing films. The actor, who will appear next in the Annie reboot, played Muhammad Ali’s corner man in Ali.

[Variety]

TIME Crime

Former Detroit Tiger Charged with Sexual Assault of Michigan Woman

Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed throws against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Detroit on May 6, 2014.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed throws against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Detroit on May 6, 2014. Paul Sancya—AP

Evan Reed is accused of sexually assaulting a 45-year-old woman in late March, while knowing the victim was "physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or mentally incapable to consent"

A former Detroit Tigers pitcher was charged with sexual assault on Wednesday for allegedly attacking a woman he met at a bar in March. Evan Reed, 28, a minor league pitcher for the Toledo Mud Hens, is accused of committing the alleged rape while the victim was “physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or mentally incapable to consent,” according to a release from the Wayne County Prosecutors office.

The victim, a 45-year-old woman from Oakland County, says she “began to feel odd” after finishing a drink at a bar in Royal Oak, Mich. The alleged assault took place in late March.

The Wayne County Prosecutors office has charged Reed with two counts of criminal sexual conduct, which could result in a maximum of 15 years behind bars. Reed is expected in a Detroit court on Thursday.

Reed’s lawyer called the charges “ridiculous” in a statement Wednesday, saying the 28-year-old has been cooperative and the evidence should prove he is not guilty.

“Evan fully cooperated with the police, gave witness statements, and provided other documentation supporting his innocence. Evan will be demanding a speedy trial and is looking forward to his day in court where he will be vindicated of any alleged wrongdoing,” lawyers Ben M. Gonek and David Gorcyca said in a joint statement. “When 12 jurors hear the facts of this case, there is no doubt in our minds they will find Evan not guilty of the charged offenses.”

The Detroit Tigers organization is also reportedly “closely monitoring” the situation. “As an organization, we take matters like this very seriously, and we are closely monitoring the situation,” the Tigers said in a statement. “Evan Reed’s representatives are handling his legal proceeding that must run its course before there is any further comment from the ballclub.”

TIME Basketball

Meet the First Woman to Run a Major U.S. Pro Sports Union

Michele Roberts
An undated photo of Michele Roberts. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher—Flom LLP/AP

Michele Roberts, star Washington D.C. litigator, talks about her humble beginnings, measuring success, and her changed view on race

“I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about breaking a glass ceiling,” says Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). She went ahead and shattered one anyway.

Roberts, who was named union chief early this week, is the first woman to head a players union for the top four U.S. pro sports leagues (basketball, football, baseball, hockey). Given the outsized impact of sports business on American culture, the importance of this appointment can’t be overstated. “Michele will inherently be a role model for girls and women aspiring to leadership roles in all sectors,” says Kathryn Olson, CEO for the Women’s Sports Foundation.

Roberts’ resume was too attractive to turn away. She was a star Washington litigator; Washingtonian magazine once named her the “finest pure trial lawyer in Washington.” Throughout her career, which began in the D.C. public defender’s office in 1980, Roberts showed an uncanny ability to connect with juries, a skill she hopes to transfer to the negotiating table.

“As a trial lawyer, you have to clarify minds, and change minds,” says Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree, who recruited Roberts to the public defender’s office. “She does the homework, and understands the arguments that need to be made. There won’t be a time when someone across the bargaining table doesn’t say, ‘Wow, I learned something.’”

During the interview process for her new high-profile gig, Roberts’ personal history helped form a bond with the players. Like some of them, she came from humble beginnings. “She could identify with us,” says Roger Mason Jr., NBPA vice president. Roberts was raised in a South Bronx housing project, and became interested in the law after seeing her older brother’s friends get sent to jail. Often, her mother told her, they couldn’t afford good representation, and it cost them.

“I’m not going to say I was proud to be poor – nobody believes that,” says Roberts. “But I’m proud that my background guided my life.” She still keeps in touch with three children – all named after her – of acquitted clients from her public defender days.

Roberts attended a prep school in the New York City suburbs, and encountered the kind of racism that was all too common at the time. “Many people hadn’t had any contact with black people,” Roberts says during a Tuesday telephone interview from Las Vegas, where the announcement of her appointment was made. “They weren’t necessarily evil, just ignorant.”

For years, this experience framed her worldview. By 1988, she was leading the trial division of the public defender’s office, and the Washington Post magazine ran an extensive profile on her. She said in that story: “I liked school, and all I wanted to do was go to school, finish up and go to college. And then I went to prep school and met these creatures: The students and some of the professors were just blatant racists. And I didn’t know anything about that before I came there. I became more aggressive in my studies, because I refused to let any of these white folks think that I was stupid. It probably has some impact on how I behave in court. Most of my opponents are white, and there’s no question that I’m more aggressive when I’m dealing with them. I am immediately suspicious of white people. I just assume, for better or worse, that they have preconceived notions about the intelligence of black people. Thankfully, I am often proved wrong, at least by people in this office.”

When asked about that comment today, Roberts doesn’t run from it: she calls it her “genuine” feeling at the time, over 25 years ago. But after working in private practice, and at prestigious white-collar firms, since those days — and while further removed from her high school experience — Roberts says her views have “evolved.” She is far from “suspicious” of white people. “The very, very goods news is that’s no longer how I see the world,” says Roberts. “And I’m happy to say that.”

She’s also delighted that the players who hired her were blind to gender. “The only question in my mind, really, was, ‘Were they unwilling to give me a chance because I was a woman?’” Roberts says. “We had so many intelligent conversations about this issue. What’s most impressive to me is, once they saw my accomplishments and the value I can add, that didn’t stop them from making the offer, even while others may have predicted otherwise.”

Roberts is used to winning, and during the last round of negotiations between the NBA and its players, the union fell short. In the collective bargaining agreement that ended the 2011 lockout, the players’ share of basketball-related income declined, from 57% to 50%. Maximum guaranteed contracts were shortened, and harsher penalties levied on teams that exceeded the salary cap. Former executive Billy Hunter was fired in February 2013, after an investigation revealed questionable business practices.

With Roberts now at the helm, the union is ready to look forward. “This is not going to be Billy Hunter vs. the NBA,” says Roberts. “This is Michele Roberts and a team of gladiators. I don’t tout that I have some magic formula. That would be a recipe for disaster.” Roberts’ competitive flair has also impressed the players. (During her public defender days, she almost got a black belt in taekwondo. “But then I had to fight two 16-year-old girls at the same time,” Roberts says. “They beat the hell out of me.”)

“I understand that there’s going to be some level of winning and losing in any big negotiation,” she says. “In the end, I want my clients to be happy. If my clients got the best deal they could under the circumstances, I would consider it a win. I would consider it a catastrophe – and it never would happen – if my clients felt shortchanged in a negotiation.”

Both players and owners can opt out of the current deal in 2017. Although Roberts is not ready to talk specific strategies and priorities during her first full day on the job, it’s not difficult to read the signals — more than likely, the players will exercise that right. “When we speak about value, of course we feel we should be getting more,” says Mason Jr. If a work stoppage were to follow, both Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, whose popularity has soared since he took a hard line against Donald Sterling, will take their hits. Fans rarely seep themselves in the mind-numbing economic details. They just want to see basketball.

For now, Roberts – a lifelong hoops fan – is still riding high. “When I got up this morning, I giggled out loud,” says Roberts. “It was still true. I got the job.” And she does feel some weight of history. “I have two nieces that I worship,” says Roberts, who has never married. “And the pride I feel when I hear how proud they are of me is tremendous. It’s important for women to break barriers. But I don’t wake up and say, ‘Let’s break some barriers today.’ I wake up and say, ‘What do I have to do to best serve my client?’ And if I happen to break some barriers along the way, God bless me.”

TIME ebola

Soccer on Hold in Liberia as the Fight Against Ebola Continues

Ebola in Liberia
A nurse disinfects the waiting area for visitors at the ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, on July 28, 2014 Ahmed Jallanzo—EPA

A major tournament has been postponed as West African countries struggle to contain the deadly disease

Correction appended July 30, 9:26am ET

Liberia halted all soccer activity Tuesday in the effort to contain the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, which has killed hundreds in West Africa as the region scrambles to stop the worst outbreak on record.

“We have decided to suspend all football activity while we help the government combat the deadly Ebola disease,” said Liberian Football Association secretary general Alphonso Armeh. “We also want to use this time to create awareness. In its initial stages, we didn’t give this the attention it needed.”

The President’s Cup, scheduled for August, has been postponed and training has been canceled, Bloomberg reports. The soccer ban could be lifted in time for league play in October.

More than 670 people in three West African countries, including more than 129 in Liberia, have been killed in the outbreak. Nigeria recently had to evacuate and quarantine a hospital after a patient died of Ebola in the first reported case to reach the densely populated city of Lagos.

On Sunday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf shut overland border crossings into and out of the country.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly identified the capital of Nigeria. It is Abuja.

[Bloomberg]

TIME Spain

Lionel Messi Faces Messy Tax-Fraud Allegations

The soccer star and his father allegedly owe $5.3 million in unpaid taxes to Spain

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Lionel Messi, the highest-paid soccer player in the world, might be in some serious financial trouble.

Messi and his father have been accused of tax fraud in Spain, and if they — in an unlikely case — are convicted, the pair could face up to six years in prison and nearly $32 million in fines.

TIME White House

The Story Behind President Obama’s Custom Golf Balls

Not all golf balls are created equal when the President tees up for a foursome

Golfing at the tony Congressional Country Club this weekend, President Barack Obama shanked a ball off the first tee into the woods, providing a similarly unlucky player with a keepsake souvenir—a personalized presidential golf ball.

Dallas resident Pace Doherty found the president’s ball on Sunday, a day after the duffer-in-chief hit the links with aide Marvin Nicholson and ESPN personalities Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon. The Titleist balls were personalized with Obama’s official nicknames, with the word “POTUS” on one side and the number “44” on the other. (Obama is the 44th President of the United States, and POTUS is the quasi-official acronym for his job title.)

A source familiar with the president’s golfing confirmed that Obama personally pays for the golf balls, which retail for $57.99 a dozen, or about $10 more than a non-customized set.

Doherty posted a photo of the custom golf ball on Instagram.

Titleist spokesman Eric Soderstrom identified the ball as from the company’s signature Pro V1 line, currently played by 2013 Green Jacket winner Adam Scott. “We have been supplying golf balls to golfing presidents for many years,” he said Monday. “It is harder than you think to stamp perfectly on a round sphere with dimples in it.”

In his definitive tome on presidential golfing, First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, ESPN reporter Don Van Natta, Jr. records former President Richard Nixon playing with custom golf balls featuring his signature and the presidential seal. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush all had golf balls featuring their signatures as well.

Presidential golf balls and boxes, 1970-92.
Presidential golf balls and boxes signed by Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush senior. Sarah Fabian-Baddiel—Heritage Images/Getty Images

The golf ball in question differs slightly in design from Obama’s first presidential model, also a Pro V1. The initial version featured the “44” with the presidential seal on the opposite side. Titleist sold Obama those balls in a custom half-dozen box emblazoned with the presidential seal.

As recently as 2010, double-digit play numbers were reserved for the commander in chief alone, requiring the company to make special modifications to its processing line. But no longer. The company upgraded its manufacturing systems to allow anyone to print double-digit play numbers. Custom Pro V1 golf balls monogrammed with a “44” and “POTUS” like Obama’s retail for $57.99 on the website Golfsmith.com.

Amazon.com sells the monogram-free stock dozen Pro V1 golf balls for $47.95.

 

 

 

TIME health

NCAA Proposes $70M Concussion Fund To Settle Lawsuit

NCAA President Mark Emmert News Conference
NCAA President Mark Emmert speaks to the media during a press conference at AT&T Stadium on April 6, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. Jamie Squire—Getty Images

The settlement includes funding for testing current and former college athletes

The National Collegiate Athletic Association will pay $70 million for concussion testing as part of a proposed settlement over an ongoing head-injury lawsuit, the organization announced Tuesday. The money would pay for symptom identification for current and former college athletes.

If accepted, the proposed deal, which would also offer $5 million for concussion research, would put an end to an ongoing class-action lawsuit facing the NCAA in federal court. According to the plaintiffs in that case, a 2010 NCAA internal study showed that almost half of college trainers put athletes with signs of concussions back on the field. The suit has been riding a wave of accusations that the NCAA and college teams across the country have put players at risk of brain injuries.

“Student-athletes — not just football players — have dropped out of school and suffered huge long-term symptoms because of brain injuries,” the lead plaintiff’s lawyer, Steve Berman, told The New York Times. “Anything we can do to enhance concussion management is a very important day for student-athletes.”

The settlement would affect men and women across all NCAA divisions. In addition to football, ice hockey and soccer squads, the settlement also affects basketball, wrestling, field hockey and lacrosse teams. All current and former athletes in the NCAA would be eligible for concussion screening and possible damage claims under the proposal.

As part of the deal, college athletes will be required to take a baseline neurological test at the beginning of each year, which will help doctors monitor the effects of potential concussions during the season. Concussion education will also be required for coaches and athletes.

“We have been and will continue to be committed to student-athlete safety, which is one of the NCAA’s foundational principles,” said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline in a statement. “Medical knowledge of concussions will continue to grow, and consensus about diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions by the medical community will continue to evolve. This agreement’s proactive measures will ensure student-athletes have access to high quality medical care by physicians with experience in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions.”

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