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NBA clearly wants James to abandon black mask

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The NBA wants LeBron James to ditch the black mask.

The Miami Heat star wore a black carbon-fiber face shield to protect his broken nose during Thursday night’s 108-82 victory over the New York Knicks. But the league wants him to switch to a clear version for Saturday night’s game against the Orlando Magic.

James likes the feel of the black mask and has filed an appeal in an attempt to continue to wear it, ESPN reported Friday.

Playing with the mask for the first time on Thursday, James did not appear to be bothered by wearing it, scoring 31 points and making 13 of 19 shots from the field.

James had practiced with a clear mask for two days but then opted for the black version before the game.

“It is our understanding LeBron used the black mask because a clear one he was comfortable with wasn’t ready,” NBA spokesman Tim Frank said.

It is not the first time that the NBA has asked a player to replace a black mask with a clear one. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant could not get away with wearing black while trying to protect broken bones.

The Heat began to capitalize on the mask’s popularity with fans, selling T-shirts with a picture of James wearing it.

“Only LeBron can make breaking your nose look cool,” Heat forward Shane Battier said.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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