Maverick Carter Rules The Universe, And Other LeBron James Vegas Story Conspiracy Theories

The Twitter conspiracy theorists weighed in on ESPN's curious (but not surprising) decision to spike Arash Markazi's Most Excellent Vegas Vacation With LeBron Inc., piece and pinned it on LBJ's business henchman, Maverick Carter. Fun idea but probably not the case.

One source close to ESPN suggests that Maverick ingratiated himself with ESPN executives during the whole "Decision" negotiations and became quite aggressive about how things went down. "I bet he just called up Skipper and had that story pulled down," The Source said. But Darren Rovell talks to Team LeBron all the time, and they said this wasn't their doing. ESPN has spiked things with questionable passages before on its home page — including some Simmons columns, live chats, a Chuck Klosterman book excerpt — so if the story reappears at some point, expect some major revisions to its current 1,549 word count, most likely leaving out the the tubs full of rose petals and naked ladies and the undermining of Carter by saying he has only "one client."

Another fun rumor floating around is that LeBron's fiancee had a sit-down with Michael Jordan's ex-wife and heard about all the bad things that happened when her husband went to Vegas. So LeBron's not allowed to go there anymore, lest he be tempted by one of the naked ladies covered in rose petals or has too many Patron shots, etc. If the trip wasn't just for "business" purposes then, well, that would look bad and possibly fuck up the Carter/James empire.

But, most likely, it was just a publishing snafu — spiked from the get-go due to content that could be considered very non-Worldwide Leader-y and accidentally published in the system. Rob King is out-of-office until August 3rd on vacation, so he's probably being conference-called in to the closed-door meeting all the dot com guys are having this minute to figure out what went wrong. And ESPN has apparently put out one of their famous DO NOT REPORTs on this debacle until they can figure out the right way to fix it. From a tipster with ties to ESPN.com:

[S]ources up at Bristol say the LeBron piece was not supposed to be published and some major mistake happened. Unclear if they were going to spike the entire thing, edit it further or what. Folks who write/tweet/whatever for ESPN or any ESPN affiliated outlets/blogs are being asked not to acknowledge the cached story and/or the fact that it was spiked.

Although it's fun to speculate about Maverick Carter raising a ruckus in Bristol because Arash violated the omerta of Vegas, it's still safe to envision ESPN having some semblance of a spine when it comes to its editorial mission, whatever that is at this point. They're just having a tough time trying to figure out how to put this particular genie back in the bottle. And just before I published this, ESPN comes through with a comment:

The story should have never been published. The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter."

More updates when they're finished looking into the matter.