On July 11, LeBron James made a really big decision. He chose to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers instead of re-signing with the Miami Heat. This was a big deal.

Although James was not believed to be in the Akron, Ohio area, thousands of Cavaliers fans flooded the streets outside his home as rumor of his return to Northeast Ohio spread. Police were present in the community and the commotion was dispersed.

According to a Reddit post, James felt guilt for the circus on his block. To make up for the disturbance, James gave his neighbors cupcakes.

James provided the cupcakes courtesy of the LeBron James Family Foundation. In very LeBron fashion, the two flavors were "Just a Kid From Akron Cherry Coke" and "Homecourt Chocolate Chunk." Also, the cupcakes came with an infographic on a card.

A neighbor named Will Smith provided a firsthand account in an email to Fox Sports Ohio:

"The exchange was pretty simple. Two women from Baker Blvd Decadent Desserts rang our front door bell, gave us the cupcakes and said 'These cupcakes are from Lebron James. He sent them to everyone in the neighborhood because of the commotion surrounding his coming back.' We had no face to face interaction with Lebron, but nonetheless, it was an extremely kind gesture."

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The Akron RubberDucks, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, celebrated the return of LeBron James a little bit differently than most within the Akron area. They introduced a new burger to their "Extreme Foods" menu. Behold the "Return of the King Burger."

The burger is a 4-ounce patty with Boursin cheese, a king crab meat blend, and a wine and gold slaw.

The RubberDucks, who sit in second place in the Eastern League Western Division, introduced their burger against the Erie SeaWolves. They have yet to win a game since the burger has been introduced. Are too many RubberDucks celebrating the return of the greatest athlete to come out of Ohio with one too many Return of the King Burgers?

LeBron announced his decision last week before flying to Brazil to take in the World Cup final. Since then, he has flown to Lexington, Kentucky, to watch his son, LeBron James Jr., play a basketball game, (which was also watched by Kentucky coach John Calipari) and flown to China to promote basketball and play some piano with Chinese pianist Lang Lang.

When he does return back home, he will find banners and billboards aligning the streets all across town welcoming him back. His jerseys will be scattered throughout Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron and virtually ever other Ohio suburb. And there will be at least one meaty, calorie-infused, artery-clogging burger fit for a king waiting for him.

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Receiver Stevie Johnson just joined the 49ers in May after being traded from the Bills, and he already has a good understanding of how coach Jim Harbaugh relates with his players. It involves birthday cake.

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The line-ups are set for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game on July 15. Headlining the star-studded orders are not only MLB players but also Minnesota's ballpark food.

Target Field chefs and Delaware North SportsService created an All-Star menu for the Midsummer Classic. It features four delicious specialty concessions that will be served at Target Field for the 2014 All-Star festivities.

Leading off is the Lobster Corn Dog:

Even lobster can be made into ballpark food. Battered and deep-fried, the Lobster Corn Dog will melt off the stick for a surefire base hit.

Batting second is the Double Play:

It’s not a baseball game without a hot dog. Or two. The Double Play features a Polish sausage and bratwurst side-by-side on the same bun. Topped with cheese sauce, fans can now kill to dogs with one bun.

In the three hole is the Brat Dog:

Not satisfied with two separate sausages, try a foot-long hot dog wrapped in bratwurst. Wait! There's more. The bratwurst is wrapped in bacon, served on a pretzel bun, and topped off with peppers.

With the bases loaded, the Hangover Burger is batting cleanup:

Two quarter-pound patties made of a mix of ground beef and ground bacon are topped with American cheese, lettuce, onion, and a sunnyside-up egg. The burger is finished off with a sauce made of mayo, ketchup, Sriracha, and cornichons. Served on a bun with the Twins' logo, this burger a grand slam.

Derek Jeter's final All-Star appearance and Clayton Kershaw’s likely start for the National League will draw fans to the All-Star Game, but Target Field’s bacon-wrapped and deep-fried delicacies may very well get the fans to stay.

If that's not enough, perhaps curiosity about the self-serve beer machine will do the trick.

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In an otherwise forgettable season for the Minnesota Twins, who are nine games below .500 and sit in last place in the AL Central, one new attraction at Target Field should have fans excited.

The team has installed one self-serving beer station and plans to have another up and running by the time of next week's All-Star Game in Minneapolis. It is believed to be the first such contraption at a MLB stadium, and possibly the first at any NFL, NBA or NHL venue.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, patrons can purchase a vending card for the beer station by showing proper ID to a concessions cashier. Normally people can only put $10 or $20 on the card, but for the All-Star Game that limit will increase to $50.

Here's what the machines look like:

Fans scan their card at a machine and choose between four beers. These include Bud and Bud Light (38 cents per ounce) and Shock Top Lemon Shandy and Goose Island 312 Urban Pale Ale (40 cents per ounce). The prices are more or less consistent with what the team normally charges for an ounce of beer (38 cents, according to 2013 data).

Customers max out at 48 ounces of beer per 15 minutes, and the machines, which will have employees on hand to check for ID and fan who have already had too much, shut down by the seventh inning.

The Twins are toward the middle of the spectrum when it comes to beer prices in MLB. The Boston Red Sox led the pack in 2013 with a 60 cents per ounce price tag while the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were the lowest at 28 cents an ounce.

"There's obviously some novelty value to this, but it also allows people to pour what they want," Jerry Jacobs Jr., principal of concessionaire Delaware North, told ESPN's Darren Rovell. "If they want half of a cup, that's all they will pay for."

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After Kobe Bryant suffered his Achilles injury in April 2013, the Mamba embarked on an eight-month recovery process. His diet included a food source that provided natural anti-inflammatory products: Bacon.

The sizzling meat played a role in Bryant's paleo-style diet, implemented by the Lakers strength and conditioning coach, Tim DiFrancesco, in the 2012-13 season.

"Contrary to what people might think, we actually want our players to eat as much grass fed butter and bacon as we can get into them," DiFrancesco told Lakers.com. "Will that sky-rocket cholesterol? No, just look into the science on it."

The team's nutritionist, Dr. Cate Shanahan, also helped design Bryant's recovery diet. The paleo-style diet focuses on using natural fats as the body's main source of energy. Lakers veteran trainer Gary Vitti has changed his mind about food such as bacon.

"We've turned the whole [dietary] pyramid upside down, that's what we've done," Vitti told the Los Angeles Times. "I went 25 years without having whole milk or a stick of butter in my refrigerator. I didn't eat bacon. No fatty meat. We've flipped that upside down. Now 50% to 60% of our calories are coming from fat. It's the source of the fats that's important."

Bryant said this philosophy was something that he and his teammates "had to adjust to, but we trust Dr. Cate implicitly. I've seen great results from it from when I started doing it last year. Watching your sugar intake, making sure you're eating healthy fats. You've got to find a balance in that system. It's worked well for me."

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They say, "No publicity is bad publicity." They also say, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, get out of the World Cup."

Luis Suarez's third recorded biting incident, with Giorgio Chiellini being the victime this time, will sideline him from professional soccer for four months and bury his reputation. However, for marketers, the episode sprawled a new line of advertisements.

McDonald's and Netflix were two of the early non-sports related companies to get into the game.


Translation: “Hello @luis16suarez, if you are hungry come have a bite of a big Mac.”


Meanwhile, at Puma, the sportwear company realized gold had fallen into its lap. As the suppliers of the Italy National Team jerseys, Puma had endless cards to play. It decided on this tweet:


That is not going to put Italy through to the knockout stage, but it can at least turn some of Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon's tears of sadness into tears of joy. (Chiellini probably thinks the kits should have been a bit stiffer.)

Of course, Suarez's chomp served up a silver platter for Italian food providers. Barilla, the Italian pasta company, gave Chiellini his own piece of penne in this tweet:


The translation reads, "A global hit and run! We would like to thank you for having supported Italy with us! @Vivo_Azzurro #CalcioBarilla, but more importantly, the text in the picture reads, "Welcome home!"

Eataly, the Italian food market, also chimed in, looking to improve its online sales.


"Do not be offended if we believe the carne de #LaGranda is better in your @chiellini, nothing personal :) #Suarez," the translation reads.

Eataly followed with a tweet of the New York Post's Wednesday cover:


That translation says, "Even the first page of it @newyorkpost suggests. @luis16suarez, take a ride on http://bit.ly/Eataly_Shop."

On the contrary, companies such as Adidas, which sponsors Suarez, had to yank him out of their advertisements. One could say he really chewed off part of their marketing strategy.

[H/T Crain's Chicago Business]

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A Bay Area startup is making a delicious detour from its normal flower delivery service in favor of everyone's favorite meat -- bacon.

BloomThat, a startup founded in 2013 that drops of bouquets of flowers to customers in the Bay Area, is offering the bacon delivery service as a Father's Day Weekend special. For $15, Bay Area residents can have six strips of high quality cured bacon delivered to their doorsteps.


The best part about this deal? One of the strips of bacon is covered in chocolate.

For more information about the promotion, check out BloomThat's website.

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For New York Giants players who are overweight during the season, those extra pounds could cost them dearly.

Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara told TMZ that the team has a "fat fine" for players who have put on extra pounds.

"Everyone has to meet a certain weight requirement," Amukamara said. "And if you are overweight you get fined like $500 a pound."

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Amukamara's account was essentially confirmed by former Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen, sometimes known as the "Hefty Lefty" because of his large frame. Lorenzen told USA Today earlier this year that while he was on the Giants, the fine was $450 per pound for each day a player didn't make weight. There were regular weigh-ins every Friday.

Lorenzen, who stands 6-foot-4, said his goal weight was between 288 and 292. To get there he sometimes had to go to extreme lengths.

"Friday mornings were always long for me because I'd get in the sauna and sweat it out," said Lorenzen, who now tips the scales at 320 pounds. "The most I had to lose was five pounds in four hours, and that was hell. I'd come in and have tight, long spandex, sweatpants and another pair of sweatpants. Then I'd wear an undershirt, a T-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a loose long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt and then a hoodie, and then go in the sauna."

Even for a pro athlete, that fine could be significant. Take New York's Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who reportedly was overweight in 2012. While Pierre-Paul's weight was never revealed, coach Tom Coughlin said it took him the majority of the season to get to his ideal weight of 275 pounds.

For the sake of example, say Pierre-Paul was 15 pounds overweight for most of the season. If he spent two months (eight Fridays) at that weight and was fined $500 per pound per day, that could amount to a $60,000 punishment. Pierre-Paul had a base salary of $825,000 in 2012.

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Charlotte Motor Speedway, home to some of the most prestigious races on the NASCAR circuit, unveiled some new menu items this year, and among the more notable concoctions is the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger.

The premise is simple. The cheeseburger is topped with bacon. Then instead of bread, the burger is placed between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts that serve as the buns.

Perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising to see this burger at the speedway. About three years ago, it introduced something called Funnel Bacakonator, a combination of funnel cake and bacon.

Given the ingredients, the Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger sounds like it ought to be pretty tasty. A YouTube user named Jeremy Wallace decided to confirm this assumption first hand.

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