LeBron James gets police escort to concert
(CNN) — He may be the King of Miami, but should LeBron James be treated like a head of state?
That’s the question some are asking after the basketball superstar was given a police escort Sunday night to the Jay Z and Justin Timberlake concert at Miami’s Sun Life Stadium.
The Miami Heat player, who was paid more than $19 million this year by the 2013 NBA champions, posted a video on Instagram. “Light police escort on the wrong side of the street,” James is heard saying in the clip, “Headed to the big homie concert, JT. Holla.”
He also tweeted about it, writing “They treat us so well! Needed it cause traffic was nuts!!”
Detective Alvaro Zabaleta of Miami-Dade Police described the incident in detail to CNN.
“The stadium got a phone call that LeBron James was stuck in traffic, so the stadium personnel got hold of one of our police supervisors working the event,” Zabaleta said. “He (asked) if there is any way we can get him out of traffic and get him to the concert.”
Zabaleta said an officer agreed to “take care of it.”
“It wasn’t hard to spot LeBron,” Zabaleta said, “and what the officer did was he told the officers working the traffic detail to stop traffic, hold the traffic and then he chose to go northbound on the southbound lanes. It took him less than a mile. He turned right and went onto the stadium property.
“That’s all the officer did, but LeBron went ahead and recorded it and said he was getting a police escort and going against traffic.”
The entire escort covered just eight blocks, Zabaleta told CNN. “From one intersection to another,” was how he put it. But he also said department policy was violated.
“We don’t have our units ever go against traffic,” he said. “The officer shouldn’t have done that. But he didn’t flagrantly say, ‘I’m not going to worry about it’. He did stop traffic for eight blocks. And that was the end of it.”
Zabaleta said department supervisors “are looking into the incident, and they are assessing the whole situation. But he wasn’t playing Frogger the whole way,” referring to a video game in which a frog tries to make it across a road amid busy traffic.
As for LeBron James, the detective only had praise. “We thank him,” he said. “We thank him for providing us this footage because we were able to learn one of our officers was violating policy.”