The King’s new throne.
Jon Stewart is a funny man. The host of The Daily Show loves to joke around and make a point too. When LeBron James dropped by the show last week to promote his new book Shooting Stars Jon clearly wanted to breach other topics as well. The topic in question was the one we all want to know about. Where will ‘Bron end up in 2010? Will he remain at Cleveland? Will he go to New York? Or will he go to the Nets? Or for that matter any other team in the League, as, let’s face it, who isn’t interested in this guy?
Jon Stewart tried to coax James New York’s way with ‘I Love NY’ mugs, Shake Shack treats and a dinosaur vertebrae from the Museum of Natural History. LeBron was willing to laugh about his situation and offer a little bit here and there, but, for the main part, he kept mum. No one other than LeBron knows where he will go right now, and that doesn’t look like it’s about to change any time soon. So instead of speculating, let’s imagine some scenarios that 2010 could bring.
“You have to stay open-minded if you are a Knicks fan.” —LeBron James
New York Knicks: Its opening night at the Mecca of basketball. We’re at the home of four NBA Finals and three Stanley Cup Finals. The place of the first Ali-Frazier fight and the last John Lennon concert. We’re at Madison Square Garden, the world’s most famous arena, the home of the NBA. The fans have gone through many years of frustration, but that all ends tonight. It’s common for spectators to arrive late because there’s no particular need to rush, but it all ends with a chalk toss.
There he stands No. 23 in white, blue and orange. The crowd, filled to capacity, goes wild; fans traveled on even busier subways then normal to get here. The frowns are now smiles. It looks like every New York fan is wearing a No. 23 jersey; if this was ’96 this wouldn’t be happening. The media members are covered in chalk but they have their story. Spike Lee wears a smile and holds a video camera; it looks like he’s making his second basketball documentary. Defining moments in modern NBA history only happen now and again. Its now time to capture a big one.
“If you guys want to go to sleep right now and not wake up until July 1, 2010, then go ahead because it’s going to be a big day.” —LeBron James
New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets: A franchise in disarray for many a year, a franchise rebuilding in more ways than one. Goodbye Jason Kidd, goodbye Vince Carter. Say hello to Shawn Carter and a development plan that’s as exciting as it is complicated. Tonight the New Jersey Nets are just one year away. One year away from Brooklyn and the new beginning. The future is right now on opening night of 2010. The future is standing next to Devin Harris, throwing a Roc sign to Jay-Z, ‘we made it.’
The move across New York doesn’t seem to matter — New Jersey has a franchise and they’re proud. Everyone is here tonight to see the start of something special. Nearby in the heart of Manhattan fans are upset, some of them are here—they aren’t about to see another Lottery season unfold.
LeBron on court jumps up and down, he looks up to the sky and around the arena. James takes a look at his teammates, it may not be the best squad in the League but it’s definitely the start of something special… real special. This year, Playoffs for sure and contention to come soon after. James turns his attention to what matters, the ball. As his first game as a Net tips-off, so does the franchise’s future.
“I have never given any indication that I’m leaving Cleveland.” —LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers: Newspapers wrote what they wanted, pundits said what they wanted to say, bloggers blogged and critics criticized. But nothing has changed… or has it? The Cavaliers have their man. One contract, one decision and one franchise for life. Just like the greats, just like Magic, just like Bird. It’s about loyalty; it’s about respect. Cleveland may as well retire his jersey right now. King James goes to the scorer’s table, we know what happens next. It’s all so familiar. It’s so good to be home.
Shaq looks on smiling, whether he’s in a suit or suited up. Mo Williams smiles like a kid on Christmas. Delonte West jokes with his old friend, Ilgauskas nods. It’s time for that family photo again. The PA cements the moment for the home faithful, ‘At guard, No. 23, LeBron James!’ The fans go wilder than ever before, louder than the first game, louder than the MVP game. Another MVP could await, so could a championship and the possibility of many more. The media rumor circus is over but the buzz and hype remain. The game tips-off, a couple of plays happen, then Mo skips the ball out to the King who drives the lane and dunks hard. The fans can’t keep their seat for even a second; the rest of the League is in trouble now. LeBron remains a Cavalier, did you witness?
We don’t know which of these outcomes (if any) will happen on the opening night of ’10-11. But one things for sure, until pen meets paper, the rumors will grow. What can speculation really give but more questions? Unless the average fan’s team has a half-decent shot at landing this guy next summer who cares? No matter where LeBron ends up or doesn’t were all about to witness one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen get better and better before our eyes. It could happen in the world’s most famous arena or a city in north eastern Ohio. No matter were it happens everyone will be watching anyway.