The city’s portion of proceeds of the NBA tax ranged from $1.1 million up to $2.1 million annually in years the tax was fully implemented, and went toward attracting and marketing events at FedExForum. The Memphis Grizzlies declined to comment. The payments end the controversy in Tennessee, but Kohlman said other states have tried similar taxes, including Ohio, home to the Cleveland Cavaliers and its star player LeBron James. Kohlman said the NBPA is filing refund requests now, and could sue Ohio if the requests are denied.
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LeBron James understood the talent the Cavaliers had long before Lue was given the keys. They spoke the same basketball terminology and Lue was able to push James intellectually in his on-court decisions. That’s what impressed James the most. His basketball IQ was being matched and that automatically garnered respect. “I knew what he was capable of,” James told cleveland.com. “I’ve had a long history with Coach Lue. … I just always believed he was ready for the moment if the moment presented itself. I was just hoping we didn’t lose him to another team. That was my thing, because I knew he was next in line [for a head job]. I was just hoping we didn’t lose him to somebody else and obviously he’s shown how valuable he is.”
The storybook ending is almost complete. “I think it is different,” Gilbert said of his team’s vibe heading to The Finals. “It’s hard to explain really, but I think it’s a different feeling. The team feels more mature, like they’re expected to be here. LeBron just has a certain calmness about him, a certain leadership that I think permeates throughout the whole team. “They’re celebrating, they’re happy, but they know they have to get back to business. You get so close. It’s four more [wins]. Fifty-two years is a long time. We just got to get four more for the city of Cleveland. That’s what it’s about. “And Lue, he’s so into the game, he’s so focused and he’s so smart. He’s always thinking ahead. My hats are off to him.”