OK, we’ve held off long enough and it’s time to address it.
Did Delonte West hook up with LeBron James’ mother, Gloria James?
The rumored story goes something like this. Delonte and Gloria were hooking up a lot during the Cavs 2010 season. She began traveling with the team more, and became closer to Delonte who was in the midst of a divorce to his wife of less than a year. The whole relationship came to a head while in Boston during the 2010 NBA playoffs. LeBron went out to dinner with friends Jay-Z and Beyonce, leaving a self proclaimed slightly under the weather Gloria James back in the team hotel. LeBron advised mom not to venture out into the notoriously vulturous Boston city, especially during the playoffs, and that he would bring her back a doggie bag. After a short dinner, LeBron returned to the team hotel with mom’s dinner. When he arrived at mom’s hotel room door, he was greeted by Delonte West wearing nothing but a towel and a fresh coat of sweat.
The Cavaliers were obviously elminated shortly thereafter with a visibly shaken LeBron James having the worst playoff series of his career. The poor performance was written off due to an elbow injury, but it was sadly for Cavs fans, the last chance they had to see LeBron in the Wine & Blue. Though I would argue LeBron’s performance was based more on Pierce’s lockdown D, some contend that it was actually Delonte’s D that twisted LeBron’s universe.
The rumors came out during the playoffs, which some would argue the speed makes it more likely to be nothing more than a well promoted bullshit story. However, in this day of immediate-media, LeBron’s legal team felt compelled to issue a statement calling the story a total and utter fabrication, and completely false.
For those that had yet to hear, the lawyer statement only added fuel to the fire. Sportstalk radio exploded with everyone offering their own theories, but most seemed to if not center around, at least come back to pieces of the hotel story. Soon, sports radio hosts were empowered to talk about it after ESPN’s Colin Cowherd alluded to it on his show, though he claims he was sworn to hold the true details close to the vest. Some shows interviewed sports figures for their thoughts, and while most offered either a passing dismissal, or a flat out denial, some weighed in. NBA Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy weighed in saying, “It ain’t no rumor … it’s absolutely true. My sources – and they’re legit sources – say the only people that didn’t know were LeBron and me.” Murphy also suggested that Delonte may be blackballed in the league after this story broke, which seemed to play out correctly when he settled for a vet-minimum deal with Boston after a summer of futile searching for a job.
Fast forward to today, when Wally Szczerbiak appeared on WFAN, when the topic came up. Wally may be one of the few in the know, having played with LeBron in Cleveland, and on a more extended basis with Delonte for a number of seasons, including three teams, and two trades (from Boston to Seattle and then Seattle to Cleveland).
On WFAN, Wally started the interview right saying he didn’t know if it was entirely true. He may have later broken company line a little bit calling this the first mother-teammate relationship he’d heard of, and that he still didn’t know all the details (which to me says he sure knows some of the details). He later says he doesn’t know how he’d handle it, especially before game 5 or 6 of a playoff series (lining up with the above rumor). He continued by confirming he’d heard pretty much what everyone else has about the rumored Boston hotel debacle, and finished by saying that “Delonte, you know, he’s a little out there, no question, I wouldn’t put it past him, but I’m not saying it happened.”
I’m sure as time goes on, we’ll hear rumors and conjecture about what really happened. Until Gloria is ready to publish her memoir’s, and Delonte is still chasing NBA contracts, I doubt we hear what if anything really happened.
Until then, stay tuned.