LeBron James and Alabama football have shared a weirdly symbiotic championship relationship, going back to James' time with the Heat. That ended this year.
When Alabama captured the national title back in January, it was good news for superstitious fans of King James and the Cavaliers. Going back to 2012, whenever Nick Saban's Crimson Tide won the title, LeBron won the NBA Finals.
That lined up perfectly in 2012 and 2013, when both sides went back-to-back. Alabama missed out on the championship in 2014 and 2015; those years, James lost to the Spurs, made his move to Cleveland, and then lost to the Warriors in the first of four match-ups.
In 2016, the Tide beat Clemson for a title. LeBron, Kyrie Irving, and company came back from down 3-1 to beat the Warriors.
Last year, Clemson got its revenge, and so did the Warriors. This year broke the streak, with an Alabama national championship and a James Finals loss.
So what changed? In reality, this was all just coincidence. However, that hasn't stopped some from pointing to an interesting headline from earlier this spring.
In April, James's media company "Uninterrupted" sent Alabama football a cease-and-desist.
In late March, Alabama football launched a video series called "Shop Talk," which featured Alabama greats discussing football in the program's barber shop. It was pretty familiar to a series that James does.
Uninterrupted has a video series called "The Shop," in which James talks to fellow athletes, business partners, and others about a variety of topics.
It isn't the most original idea in either case, but the aesthetics were pretty similar. James and Uninterrupted sent this letter after Alabama's video:
On Monday, “Uninterrupted” sent a letter to Alabama addressing concerns over copyright infringement and intellectual property appropriation.
“The Shop” was developed by James and “Uninterrupted” co-founder Maverick Carter. Its first episode, which premiered during the 2017 NBA Finals, generated approximately 4 million views across Uninterrupted.com and ESPN’s YouTube channel, according to a copy of the letter obtained by ESPN.
“Your continued exploitation of ‘Shop Talk’ infringes ‘Uninterrupted’s’ copyright, trademark rights and other valuable intellectual property rights in ‘The Shop’ and significantly damages ‘Uninterrupted’s’ commercial prospects for ‘The Shop,’” the letter reads, in part.
In response, Nick Saban had this to say in a press conference.
“I’m sorry that anybody could be offended by something that we were just having fun with, and I enjoyed it and we’re going to continue to do it.”
Again, coincidence, or did Saban and Alabama put some sort of curse on LeBron? Fans on Twitter are skeptical:
Considering the Warriors were just a much better team overall, it is probably the former, but the latter is certainly more fun to think about. To be safe, we probably shouldn't go crossing Alabama football anytime soon.