Nike LeBron 11 sneaker not yet a winner for LeBron James

If the shoe fits

Nike's pristine new sneaker, at about $200 a pair retail, is the LeBron 11.

Too bad they don't feel very snug on the feet of the 6-foot-8, 250-pound superstar whose name is on them. LeBron James only wore the new Nikes for two full games in the Heat's first 18 games this season, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“I just want to be able to wear them,” James said Thursday after the story broke. “It's been a frustrating process. But obviously, I know that Nike [is] not going to put me out there in harm's way.”

The new sneakers were apparently so uncomfortable James switched to the previous model, the LeBron X, during timeouts or after a quarter ended.

“I could wear them, but they don't feel as great as I want them to feel,” he said about the new design. “So we're redefining them, and I feel like this next round is going to be perfect.”

They might not fit, but they're fashionable. Sales of the new sneakers are up 18% over last year's model.

Mentoring 101

The Nets' rookie coach, Jason Kidd, hired his former coach, Lawrence Frank, to be his chief assistant and put him in charge of Brooklyn's defense.

Frank didn't come cheap, either, landing a six-year, $6-million deal, making him the highest-paid assistant in the NBA.

But Brooklyn has been a disaster from the outset, with injuries, a pricey, aging roster and the worst defense in the league.

There were also rumblings that Frank was taking charge of the team's other assistants and Kidd felt he was losing control of his staff and players.

So Kidd on Tuesday announced: “Lawrence has been reassigned to doing daily reports and won't be sitting on the bench or at practice.”

That night the Nets were run off the court at home, losing to Denver by 24 points.

Nets newcomer Kevin Garnett acknowledged all the coaching and lineup adjustments were difficult.

“We were trying to figure out how to patch this thing up, how to get this thing together; there's a lot of moving parts to this,” he said. “I don't think anyone around here is having fun, and losing is definitely not fun.

“Chemistry isn't just, snap, wave a magic wand and voila.”

Universal language

Two nights later, the Knicks played at Brooklyn. Both teams were booed when their starting lineups were introduced. The Knicks, though, got their fourth win of the season with a 30-point blowout.

During the game Andrea Bargnani and Garnett got into an altercation after Bargnani lost his balance while fighting for rebounding position and grabbed Garnett's jersey when falling to the court.

Both received technicals, with Bargnani ejected for his trash-talking. It was his first ejection from an NBA game.

Asked later what Bargnani said, Garnett responded: “I don't speak Italian.”

Bargnani quipped later, “I wasn't speaking Italian, but that's not important. The game was important. I'm happy we won.”

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