Bienvenido to LeBron's Miami
MIAMI -- I'm lying in a bed, draped in a LeBron James jersey. I'm shoveling Red Hots in my mouth at a frightening pace, and just to test the strength of my digestive system and prove I have little common sense, I take a healthy sip of Dom Perignon.
What a bad idea.
But this is how you get close to LeBron, assuming you can't get tickets to Miami Heat games or have no other way to see LeBron in person.
You sip expensive champagne and chew candy that crackles like lightning and destroys your teeth.
LeBronMania has reached such an apex that you can spend an entire day in Miami experiencing LeBron without ever actually seeing LeBron in the flesh.
To begin this adventure, you'll need the following:
• A bathing suit
• A strong liver
• A fondness for John Mayer
• A healthy appetite
• Roughly $12,700
Getting close to the King isn't cheap. And you might need a dentist afterward.
The LeBroyal Treatment
The LeBron experience should begin at the Seven Seas Aveda Spa & Salon at the Newport Beachside Hotel in Sunny Isles, Fla., just outside of Miami.
This spa offers the LeBroyal Treatment, a package that includes six items for $149.
Get it? Six for No. 6, LeBron's number with the Heat.
I ask a friendly receptionist what the treatment includes. Amazingly, in one breath, she says:
• A 30-minute massage
• A manicure
• Jet-ski rental
• An Aveda gift bag
• A 30-minute workout session
• And a six-pack of beer
Immediately, I'm focused on the beer.
But first, the manicure, which is given to me by a friendly manicurist named Miriam, who has lived in Miami for only a year and worked at the spa for a few months.
As she's discovering what awful cuticles I have, I ask Miriam: "What do you know about LeBron James?"
Before she can answer, though, someone brings me a glass of champagne because it is that kind of spa.
Anyway, Miriam hunkers down as if she's about to tell me a huge secret -- all while continuing to rake my nails with a nail file -- and she whispers, "I don't really know that much about him."
She explains she would know him if he if came to the spa. She doesn't know about his consecutive MVPs, but she does know that he's a big deal, and everywhere she goes, people are talking about him.
I ask Miriam if a manicure could help LeBron become a better shooter. She nods. I ask her if a manicure could help LeBron win a championship. She nods.
I have a feeling that had I asked Miriam if a manicure could impact the mid-term elections, she would have nodded.
After the manicure, I'm whisked into a massage room, where it occurs to me that a Cleveland fan might have a completely different interpretation of the LeBroyal Treatment.
Once the massage is finished, my options are limited. I can't rent a jet ski because someone injured a leg on one and the service was shut down for the day. The trainer I'm supposed to do a workout session with isn't there -- although considering I've already had a couple of glasses of champagne and am drowsy from the massage, I'm OK with missing out on the workout.
That only leaves the six-pack of beer, which the spa staff put in an ice-filled bucket and placed underneath a cabana on the beach. It's warm, sunny and the kind of day you knew LeBron was dreaming about when he decided to bring his much-talked-about talents to South Beach.
So there I am, sitting in a spa robe, relaxing in a lounge chair and drinking a cold Corona. Just like the commercial.
And to think all Dwyane Wade got was the county named after him for a day.
After being massaged and manicured -- things LeBron surely would want you exposed to -- it's time to eat.
So let's steer the LeBron experience toward Coral Gables, specifically to a place called OneBurger.
It's a gourmet hamburger joint where, besides beef, you can get some of the best chicken and turkey burgers in the Miami area.
But as soon as you step to the counter, right there on the wall, you'll see the latest treasure at OneBurger: the Bron Burger.
It's a meaningful burger. As in, all of its components have a meaning.
It's made with Kobe beef.
"It's because LeBron always eats up Kobe," said OneBurger owner Daniel Guiteras.
An onion ring comes on the burger.
"That's his championship ring," Guiteras said.
I'm too polite to remind Guiteras that James doesn't have one.
It's made on a Kaiser roll.
"Kaiser means 'King' in German," Guiteras said.
Well, it means emperor, but that's close enough.
I bite into it and it's unbelievably good. Flavorful. I'm hoping he's got some Chris Paul fries.
"The feedback on the burger has been tremendous," Guiteras said. "Our Kobe beef sales have tripled, and people love the in-store Nerf contest."
The Bron Burger requires some light, physical activity. Guiteras placed a Nerf hoop above the kitchen entrance. If you make the shot from the counter, that's 25 percent off the Bron Burger.
The number 25, of course, is for LeBron's age.
Step further back from the counter, just below OneBurger's entrance, and if you shoot from there and make it, you win an overnight stay at a five-star Miami hotel.
Of course, I took both shots.
And yes, I missed.
I ask Guiteras why LeBron gets his own burger. Udonis Haslem is from Miami, went to Florida and is now with the Heat. Wade has been with Miami seven years.
No burger for either.
"I love D-Wade, but OneBurger has been open for three years, and he has never come in to show us some love and he didn't live that far away," Guiteras said. "Hopefully, LeBron will bring him -- and the rest of the team."
The Heat Suite
You have to sleep at some point, don't you?
I've been to the spa. I've filled up on a burger. I feel as if LeBron and I are twins.
So let's end the LeBron experience at the Gansevoort Hotel on South Beach, where for $2,500 a night you can rent the Heat Suite.
But it's not just any ol' suite. The suite includes: LeBron's favorite snacks; his jersey; a framed photo of LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh; LeBron's favorite snacks; and his favorite music on an iPod.
But that's not all.
You also get a rented red Ferrari.
Remember, LeBron's a king. This is how Kaisers roll.
When I arrive at the Gansevoort, I don't check out the suite first. I don't bother with the cabana, snacks or the iPod.
I hop right in the Ferrari.
A warning: Ferraris are even lower to the ground than they look. I nearly pulled a hamstring getting into the car.
When you tap the accelerator, you feel like you're powering a spaceship.
A Ferrari suddenly turns you into Miss America.
People wave and give me the thumbs-up signal. A guy who's sitting on an old stool outside a party store motions for me to make a U-turn and talk to him.
I'm in a Ferrari. He's on a bar stool.
Yes, talking to him makes perfect sense.
But a half-hour in the Ferrari is all I need. Time to return to the Heat Suite.
LeBron's jersey is hanging on the living room mirror. Am I supposed to sleep in it or wear it to a game?
The room is filled with floral arrangements that cost $300 each. A bottle of Dom Perignon is chilling in an ice bucket in the living room.
The room has been dotted with boxes of Red Hots and Hot Tamales, which are supposedly LeBron's favorite snacks.
I scan the iPod that has LeBron's favorite music. There's a bunch of Jay-Z songs, of course. Also, Kelly Clarkson and John Mayer.
I try not to judge.
Since it's been a long day, I hop into the bed in the master suite. Red Hots are on the nightstand, and also a glass of champagne.
LeBron always has seemed like a big kid, so I do what I think he'd do: I shower myself in Red Hots, drink champagne, crank up his iPod and sing Mayer's "Your Body Is A Wonderland."
This is LeMiami.
Jemele Hill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.