LeBron joins Twitter, but keeps up mystery

NBA free-agent LeBron James takes a shot over

NBA free-agent LeBron James takes a shot over Florida State defender Chris Singleton during a scrimmage at the LeBron James Skills Academy for high school and college players at the University of Akron campus, in Akron, Ohio. (July 5, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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At LeBron James' soon-to-be-unveiled website, his fans are asked to enter their name, e-mail and cell phone number. Once they hit submit, a new page appears with a brief but curious message.

"You'll be the first to know."

Whoa. Does that mean these registered fans will be the first to know when James' website goes live? Or should we dare to wonder whether James might actually announce his plans here?

In a brief telephone interview Tuesday, James' publicist, Keith Estabrook, said only, "That's part of promotion and marketing."

The intent of the message is ambiguous, and perhaps intentionally so, considering how James and his small inner circle have appeared to revel in creating mystery behind his decision.

One of the most polished and affable speakers in the game, James hasn't talked publicly since the Cavaliers were eliminated in the second round of the NBA playoffs, except for an interview at his home with CNN's Larry King last month.

James' extended silence combined with the insatiable interest in his plans are the main reasons why there was incredible buzz in the sports world Tuesday over James' sudden decision to join Twitter, the social media networking service.

Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets, who scrimmaged with James during a surprise appearance at his camp at the University of Akron on Monday, said in a tweet Tuesday that he "couldn't convince [James] to tell me which team he's going to but convinced him to join twitter."

And then Paul revealed James' handle - @KINGJAMES. This was just before noon, and by the time James tweeted for the first time at around 5 p.m., he already had 100,000 followers.

"Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building "Finally." My Brother @oneandonlycp3 gas'd me up to jump on board so I'm here. Haaaa." Paul's handle on Twitter is @oneandonlycp3.

Tuesday, James - the "King of Akron," according to his bio on Twitter - attended the second day of his basketball camp for top high school and college players at the University of Akron. He again refused to comment to the media, just like he did Monday as well as all three days last week in which he held meetings with prospective teams, including the Knicks and Nets.

James' decision is not expected until at least after the camp ends this evening, and maybe even later. But in what form it will come, no one yet knows.

When Michael Jordan announced he was returning to the NBA in 1994 after his brief foray into baseball he did so with a two-word statement - "I'm back" - through agent David Falk. Last week, in an interview with The Washington Post, Falk said the potential ramifications of James' decision reminds him of the impact Jordan had on the league two decades ago.

"The onus is now on LeBron to raise the bar again," Falk said. "We want to see how's he going to raise the bar and change the game for the next 25 years. The decision for him is picking the right place for his legacy."

With Arthur Staple

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