Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | 5:39 p.m.
LeBron James gingerly left Valley High late Tuesday afternoon, favoring a right ankle he had rolled in practice with the U.S. national basketball team.
But he did not leave the grounds in the shiny black Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow.
Quick, who did?
When James rolled his ankle on Kevin Durant's foot, a hush fell over a few hundred select coaches and other basketball executives, and Nike representatives, in the gym.
Team USA trainer Keith Jones called it a mild sprain.
“After it happened, I went right over to him,” said shooting guard Michael Redd. “He said, It’s OK. He’s important, a guy we desperately need. We need him healthy.”
The Americans play Canada here Friday night at UNLV and will play four exhibitions, two in Macao and two in Shanghai, before opening the Olympics against China on Aug. 10 in Beijing.
James declined to field questions after practice as he sat on a trainer’s table with his right ankle taped and earphones blared music from his iPod.
With his right hand on a rail, he walked down the right side of a staircase outside the gym.
He was oblivious to the throng of 100 or so, mostly kids, on the other side of the left rail begging for his autograph.
James eked up to a white Lincoln Town Car and was driven away. The Rolls wasn’t for him.
Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Chris Bosh, Tayshaun Prince, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer and Dwight Howard all ambled over to the signature seekers to appease them.
"I apologize ahead of time because I know I won't be able to get to everybody," Wade said to the crowd.
None, however, got into the Rolls.
When Kobe Bryant left the arena, the crowd went bananas.
Kobe, you promised! You promised us! I have been out here sweating for two days! Got time for a little girl?
But Bryant stayed to the far right, signing for nobody. At the base of the stairs, not even he veered right to the Rolls. He inched to his left, then up the stairs and into the coach of a white chartered but with heavily tinted windows.
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski didn’t sign a thing, either. Near the bottom of the stairs, someone cheered for North Carolina. Krzyzewski coaches Duke, the Tar Heels’ arch enemy.
Not even Coach K, though, got into the Rolls.
That ride was reserved for Jim Hill, the always sharp-dressed sports anchor for KCBS-Channel 2 in Los Angeles. He opened the right rear suicide door, casually slipped in and was gone down a rear alley out of the premises.