Yes. Purchased it. Because despite Nike's best efforts to keep this thing under wraps, another amateur videographer smart enough to not hand it over has been shopping it for weeks when it became apparent the world wanted to Witness.
It's unclear how many other places the entrepreneurial dunk-peddler went with this thing or how much he sold it for, and no one seems to have any idea who this Zapruder might be. Ryan Miller, one of two cameramen who got frisked by Nike, tells us in an e-mail that this must've been the work of a third videographer, filming somewhere from the stands or the track above the court.
But here's something fun: ESPN was offered the tape — also for a price — but passed. That doesn't mean they didn't view it. And, according to one individual who saw the video, once it airs tonight and begins making its way around the web, smudged with the ugly TMZ watermark, it's going to, in this person's words, "make LeBron look even more of a bitch." Not because he gets posterized, but because how Lebron was actually "dunked on" was so surprisingly lame. All the tape shows is that LeBron was somewhat lazy about filling the lane before Xavier's Jordan Crawford authoritatively threw it down. That's it. And yet LeBron felt the need to sic his shoe company on the cameramen anyway.
But this doesn't mean it's still not required viewing, in the same way other much-talked about, infamous tapes pique our interest enough to become obsessions. You know, just like that little boy ghost in Three Men And A Baby. What did you think I was talking about?
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Now — another wrinkle. When I first received word yesterday that the tape was being shopped around, Lord Denton, in all his checkbook journalismy wisdom, suggested I "put out a bounty on it." You may recall he did a similar thing back in Jezebel's training bra days. His suggested offer? $10,000. (When I was explaining to him why this would be a wise investment, I first had to spend one minute explain to him that, no, LeBron getting dunked on has nothing to do with him getting doused with water. He loves sports!) This was the original title of this post: "My Gay British Boss Will Pay $10k To See Black Man Get Embarrassed." Maybe next time.
Also, TMZ's Harvey Levin just went on the Dan Patrick Show and wouldn't reveal how much he paid for it, but let's put the figure somewhere between our hypothetical $10,000 and the $50,000 BetUS supposedly offered last week. And once the tape airs tonight, remember, the hype is bigger than the dunk. But I still would have used Denton's money to buy it.