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Soulja Boy feels disrespected by Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, but he feels important because of comments
Playoff series is music to Soulja Boy's ears Saturday, April 19, 2008Branson WrightPlain Dealer Reporter
DeAndre Way is not much of a basketball fan, and he surprisingly has never seen LeBron James play. So when Way saw that James mentioned his stage name, "Soulja Boy," in a recent article, Way was caught way off guard.

"Someone from Interscope Records called me and sent me the quote," Way said. "I looked and didn't really think much about it. LeBron said something like he was Jay-Z and DeShawn [Stevenson] is Soulja Boy. I took that as [disrespectful]."

Following the Cavaliers practice on Friday in preparation of today's Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs against the Washington Wizards, James said he was not trying to be disrespectful to Way.

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All James attempted to do was respond to the slight given to him by Wizards guard Stevenson. Today's game is the first time Stevenson and James have competed against each other since the Cavs lost last month to Washington. After James missed a 3-point shot that would have won the game for the Cavs, Stevenson told reporters, among other things, that James was overrated.

Shortly after those comments, James said: "With DeShawn Stevenson, it's kind of funny. It's almost like Jay-Z [responding to a negative comment] made by Soulja Boy. It doesn't make sense to respond."

Jay-Z is one of the top hip-hop artists, while Soulja Boy -- though wildly popular -- is considered by some reviewers as a one-hit wonder. But the catchy tune "Crank That" remains a popular hit.

The single was initially self-published on the Internet, and it became a No. 1 hit for seven non-consecutive weeks starting in September 2007.

The "Soulja Boy Dance" is performed in night clubs, socials and in sports arenas across the country. Even James was caught on camera doing the "Soulja Boy Dance" during a game this season.

"When I first came out, there [were] a lot of people that did my dance from football players to basketball players to soccer players," said Way, 17. "So this makes me feel like a very important individual. I'm in the middle of this conversation in the playoffs, and that makes me feel good. I knew my name was going to come up in sports, because of the song, but I never thought it would come up in a conversation like that."

But it has.

In fact, Stevenson responded to James' comments by inviting Way to an upcoming playoff game. Stevenson promised to have Way at courtside in a Wizards jersey. Way said he will accept the invitation. He is expected to attend either Game 3 or Game 4 in Washington.

"I'm all for it," Way said. "He invited me out, and I don't have a problem coming . . . I'm [cheering] for whoever backs me. I can't go for whoever's going against me."

Way said he has never seen James play because he's not much of a basketball fan. Working on new music takes up most of his time. Way, who grew up in Atlanta, is more of a football fan. Since the Atlanta Hawks are in the playoffs and since he has been invited to the playoff series between the Cavs and the Wizards, basketball will become more of a priority.

Although Way even admitted he doesn't have much of basketball talent, he would not oppose a 2-on-2 basketball game for charity between himself and Stevenson against James and Jay-Z.

"Oh man, let's do it," Way said. "I can't hoop, but we all have money, and I can quickly get some training."

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:

bwright@plaind.com, 216-999-4671