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The Lebron James Phone Prank

By: Mitchell Blatt

Having all the skills of a pro athlete would be great. Jumping 4 feet in the air... Running a 4.2 forty... Having their phone number, however, would not be so great. Especially if you're friends with Paris Hilton. Here at Juiced Sports Blog, we have first hand knowledge of how annoying it is to receive hundreds of calls asking for "LeBron James." Last year, my friend and I created a fake page with a number of "celebrity phone numbers" listed.

At first, we were going to mess with some pizza joints in New York, but then our compassion kicked. More to the point, we thought it would be better not to risk any "legal retribution," as if there actually was any law against posting a bunch of people's numbers online as celebrity numbers without their approval. Besides, it would be funnier to put a number up as LeBron's and see whom calls.

Ikenna (Okafor, cousin of Emeka) volunteered, because he did a better LeBron than me. As it turned out, his voice didn't matter. Within hours of posting the Wordpress page and linking it to a number of forums, we had 400 page views and dozens of calls that all went like this:
Ikenna: "Hello?"
Scared Guy Who Thinks He's Talking to LeBron: (Hangs up.)

Twenty-four hours later, the same thing had happened, by Ikenna's count, at least 200 times. When I was with him, it was rare to go a few minutes without his phone ringing. Remember back when Paris Hilton's cell phone was hacked? Anyone who tried calling, say, Eli Manning to ask him why he wasn't as good as his brother (His response: "Shut up.") will remember how many times they had to call to get through. The effect wasn't as extreme here because the link hadn't had the same online promotion as Paris' phone list. Even so, Ikenna was still getting calls weeks after he complained to me to take down the link. (Maybe that was because I posted the number itself on a few forums. Don't tell him that.)

Even though I completed pissed him off posting his number online (though he consented), I still had his back when it mattered. Like when some punk from L.A. called and I gave him a talking to on why not to post athlete's numbers online. Posing as LeBron's agent, I accused him of posting the number, after finding his number on the recent calls log:
Me: "Hi, this is Mitchell Blatt from IMG. I'm LeBron James' agent, and we have evidence that you posted his number online."
Guy: "No, I didn't."
M: "Your number showed up on his call records."
G: "I called it."
M: "We have traced the internet IP code, and it got to you."
G: [anger in voice] "I don't know, I just called the number. It was already posted."
M: "Could one of your friends have posted it on your computer?"
G: [distressed] "No, none of my friends did."
M: "Alright, well, I just want to let you know that this investigation will continue, and you better watch your back. The King has his eye on you.

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