A magical moment in Game 1 of the Cavaliers’ Eastern Conference playoff series against the Toronto Raptors has turned flat.
The image of a skidding LeBron James hitting the brakes just before the first row, pausing to grab a bottle of beer and then contemplating taking a sip, exploded across social media Monday night and left sports commentators calling it a “LeBron moment.”
The purveyor of the bottle, Great Lakes Brewing Company, seized the marketing moment to promote its Dortmunder Gold Lager that James had grabbed from a startled server at Quicken Loans Arena.
Great Lakes tweeted out a photo of the King and even offered to host James, who told reporters after the game that he is more of a wine guy, at one of its beer schools to “help him find a beer fit for a king.”
The popular Cleveland brewery offered $1 off pints and $2 off crowlers of Dortmunder on Tuesday.
But the buzz was off by Wednesday morning, when a James confidante told Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon that the image-conscious Akron native was not interested in partnering with Great Lakes, and even threatened to sue the landmark business should it continue to use his image to promote its beers.
The brewery “is trying to benefit off of me,” James told Cleveland.com.
It is worth pointing out there is a history between the two.
When James decided to “take [his] talents to South Beach” in 2010, Great Lakes released a dry and bitter pale ale called “Quitness” to mark the move.
A spokesperson for James declined to comment on the beer flap. Great Lakes also passed on the chance to weigh in.
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3547.