It Is Almost Upon Us

Long before the clock hit zero and the fat lady began singing on the Cleveland Cavaliers season, the talk around the NBA was no longer the rest of this year, but the future of a few select superstars. In fact, the talk began before the fat lady began tuning her voice, before she arrived at the opera house, and way before she got dressed in that way too revealing long dress (you know, the kind that covers up the body, but still shows way too much arm, shoulder and back flab to the point that you just wished she’d have left a little more to the imagination). And let’s be honest, although the talk surrounded several superstars, the conversation really focused on one man specifically.

King James. The Chosen One. The Akron Hammer. God’s Gift to Basketball. Basketball Bo. All nicknames, but no matter the moniker, you know who I am talking about.

LeBron Raymone James.

Ever since He re-signed in 2006, the basketball community has been speculating about July 1, 2010. Not wanting to appear disloyal and jump ship after His rookie contract, but definitely not wanting to be stuck in a long-term deal where He would not see free agency until His mid-to-late prime, He chose the Goldie Locks route and took the deal that was just right: three years with a player option that everyone knew was just a facade.

So it began as whispers in 2006…and became “low-talk” when Donnie Walsh was able to move Jamal Crawford’s and Z-Bo’s contracts in 2008…and became the decibel of that-guy-at-the-movie-on-his-phone-who-is-clearly-trying-not-to-talk-too-loudly-yet-everyone-in-the-theater-can-hear-his-whole-conversation when Donnie Walsh traded Jordan Hill and future first rounders to Houston at this year’s trade deadline…and has become full-fledged talk by now…and will become either the volume of the drunk-guy-at-the-bar-who-thinks-he-is-talking-at-a-normal-level-but-in-reality-is-screaming-at-you (while probably also spitting in your face) or that of State Department Attache for the US Amabassador to China Jacob Silj by the end of the month…and will become cartoon-pan-out-from-close-up-of-character-to-overhead-view-of-city-to-map-view-of-country-to-space-shot-of-earth-to-far-away-shot-of-galaxy loud by the time the countdown clock on the front page of ESPN New York hits zero.

We’re not quite there yet, but we can all feel it. It has gained momentum and inertia is leading it to become the most prognosticated free agency period in sports history. The Spring of Anticipation is about to make way for the Summer of LeBron.

And. I. Cannot. Wait.

Where will He go? Well, nobody knows the answer to that. Even LeBron himself says He “has to talk to His people.” William C. Rhoden of the New York Times suggests LeBron must first ask Himself “Why has He lost?,” before being able to know the answer to “Where to next?.” Bill Simmons thinks LeBron must choose between loyalty (Cleveland), winning (Chicago), and immortality (New York). Henry Abbott, JA Adanda, and Chris Broussard say Chicago; John Hollinger and Chris Sheridan say Miami; and Steiny Mo says Brooklyn New Jersey.

I am not going to pretend to know what LeBron will do. But I do know what He should do.

LeBron was destined to play in one city. It is His fate to play for one team. Only as a New York Knickerbocker can He achieve the greatness that he so desperately craves — the greatness that I think he deserves. You do not make the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of sixteen to rot away in Cleveland. You do not become the first phenom to pan out to be greater than we expected to live in somebody else’s shadow in Chicago. And you do not become a global icon by sharing the limelight with another superstar in Miami. You do all of these things to achieve — as Bill Simmons hinted, but inferred had little possibility — immortality with an organization that has not won a championship in nearly 40 years. A team that plays its home games in the World’s Most Famous Arena on a court known to those who play the sport simply as The Mecca. A franchise that calls The Greatest City in the World home and has fans that no other place can offer.

But there is also one other reason LeBron should come here. While pundits consider the Knicks situation to be gloomy at best, if you really watch this team closely you know they are not as far away as most think. The first reason? Free Agent Superstar X. The second? Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari.

You think I’m kidding. But I am serious.

Dead. Serious.

to be continued…

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