SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Taping of a LeBron James commercial being shot at San Francisco’s Joe DiMaggio Park in North Beach began Thursday, but the star is not expected to come anywhere near the park.

“We have a look-alike who is 3 inches smaller than [James],” said Michael Raziano, a freelance location manager who is supervising the commercial shoot for Sprite.

“We are having him professionally – and temporarily – tattooed,” said Raziano, who adds the stand-in is doing the stunts and the NBA basketball star will be superimposed into the commercial later in the editing process.

Dozens of crew members have been working hard over the last three days, drawing murals, painting over lines and building large sets. Raziano said the commercial will feature a series of vignettes that will see a basketball court transform into to a skate park.

Sprite has paid a total of $20,000 in fees to the City of San Francisco for the use of the park, said Elton Pon, spokesman for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. Pon said $5,400 of that total will pay for a park ranger to monitor the project.

Raziano said he believes at least some of the money will go to keeping up the park. He said the plan is to leave the park as they found it, but he said many have expressed interest in keeping some of the decorations.

“I’ve gotten such good feedback from the neighborhood asking me to keep the murals,” said Raziano. But Raziano said that decision is up to Dana Ketchum, a Recreation and Parks executive or Supervisor David Chiu, the supervisor for the district.

“Unless they give their stamp of approval, they’ll probably be painted over and left the way it was before,” Raziano said.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. Joe DI Maggio says:

    Lebron was indeed there at around 5-7 30 pm. Most of his shots were filmed in a tent with a revolving center court. You guys have been duped.

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