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Alan Diaz | Associated Press
LeBron James adjusts his mask Thursday.

NBA: Granny tendencies unmasked

OK, show of hands here. Who thought the black mask LeBron James wore the other night to protect his broken nose was, like, super awesome?

Yeah. That's what I figured.

The black mask was a hit with virtually everyone, from fans to fellow players ("Only LeBron can make breaking your nose look cool," teammate Shane Battier said) to even the Heat, which immediately rolled out a T-shirt featuring LeBron's masked image. The web-o-sphere blew up with people tweeting photos of the masked LeBron, or photo-shopping the mask on various other sports personalities.

So. Major publicity coup for the NBA, right?

Um, no. Not according to the NBA.

The League, firmly settling into the role of Granny Get-Off-My-Lawn, told LeBron he couldn't sport the superhero/villain look because ... well, just because, apparently. LeBron, the NBA decreed, will have to wear a more conventional clear mask instead.

So to sum up: Here's an NBA star breaking out something that has no obvious ill effect on the game, and that's swiftly become the rage everywhere, thereby benefiting the NBA itself. And the NBA says, nah, no thanks.

Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Speaking of damaged noses.

Ben Smith's blog.