With the prospect that tonight may be LeBron's last game in Cleveland as a Cavalier, and July 1st drawing nearer, the temperature is rising as everyone starts to offer their opinion, wishes or prayers on the topic. There is a wonderfully exhaustive post at NY Knicks Beat advocating LeBron's defection to the Orange and Blue. (One blogger perceptively wrote that this post shows LeBron needs a restraining order against some NY fans but it is a thorough blueprint for true believers). But the most non-committal opinion of someone who believes (sorta, kinda) that LeBron will be a Knick is Buzz Bissinger the author of the book on "LeBron's Dream Team. His word should carry some weight since he has spent so much time with LeBron, but if it does it is lightweight because he admittedly says nothing that we don't already know. But still, this is what Buzz had to day:
McNeill: LeBron’s love for Ohio shone through in this book. If you were a gambling man, where would you put the odds of him re-signing with Cleveland?
Bissinger: LeBron does love Ohio. He loves playing in Cleveland and he loves Akron. Like everyone else, I have asked LeBron what he is going to do and he has flashed me that exquisite smile. I am not privy to any special information, but my gut tells me he will leave the Cavaliers whether they win the NBA championship or not. He has aspirations beyond basketball. He wants to be a billion dollar athlete. He likes challenges and bright lights. There is nothing like New York and the goal of making the Knicks champions again is an incredible one. So I say he goes to the Knicks, IF THEY GET THE RIGHT SUPPORTING CAST. And as you know that’s a big “if” when it comes to the Knicks. LeBron would own New York in a way that no athlete has ever owned it, except maybe for Reggie Jackson after game six of the 1977 World Series when he hit three home runs, and as we know the love affair did not last forever. It would be exciting as hell to watch and I think LeBron would luxuriate in it. But as you say he also loves Ohio, so it is going to be a very difficult decision and I don’t think he has come close to making it yet. And remember, the most important value in LeBron’s life is loyalty. Still, I say he goes. But once again, if anybody out there is a betting man, bet against
Let's not waste time on whether or not the Knicks will pursue King James. They're going to. Most will agree that they have to and from a business standpoint Donnie Walsh and the front office absolutely have to make a play for the player that is widely considered the best in the game. Now that we have that firmly established, allow me to lay out the reasons why New York doesn't need King James.
This is the final installment of the transcribed Knicks exit interview during which Knicks players meet with Donnie Walsh to discuss the season and their summer plans. You can find the earlier installments at Exit, Stage Right, Almost No One Left: Inside the Knicks Exit Interviews 2010 and Exit, Stage Right, Almost No One Left: Inside the Knicks Exit Interviews 2010, Part Due. Drop a few words on us in return and tell us what you think.
After McGrady left, D’Antoni dropped his face into his hands and massaged his temples as if he were trying to avoid another headache by rubbing a bad memory from his brain. The season was over but the tension remained high for Coach D. He raised his head and brushed back his hair, now mostly presidential gray, the kind of dull color that spreads quickly and foretells the build-up of job-related pressure within the body. Clinton's, Bush's and Obama's hair seemed to turn quickly gray during each of their respective first terms. As with everything D'Antoni, his hair grew gray much faster.
The Coach wondering how he got into this mess and shaking his head, walked to the door and closed it extra tight as though the exaggerated push would provide additional privacy while he spoke.
“Gallo,” he said
“This is officially your team now. I am handing the keys over to you.”
“Coach, why do the Italians always get America’s crap? Supreme Superstar Tracey McGrady says I am being treated like a black man in America but I think this happens to Italians too. You agree, Uncle,” Gallo said with a slight smile, an exaggerated bent of the knees and a gross grunt.
“I’m serious Gallo. This is your time now. We need you to become the leader,” said D'Antoni almost sternly.
“I’m up for the challenge coach,” Gallo said standing at attention, then rubbing the bottom of his back instinctively after the quick movement.
“You are now the face of the Knicks, but Donnie and I want you to be more than just a pretty face.”
“Whatever you need, Coach,”replied Gallo
“First, I need you to rest your body and not play for the Italian National Team in the Euro-qualifiers,” said D'Antoni.
“But. . . ."
Walsh joined in. “Gallo, we want you to call Dino Meneghin and tell him that you need to work on strengthening your back this summer. He’ll understand. You just came off major back surgery and played 81 games for the first time in your career. You are exhausted . . .”
“Yessir, Mr. Walsh,” deferred Gallo.
“We want you to rest a little, enjoy life a little, go home, keep up with the regimen for your back and get back here by June 30th,” said Mr. Walsh.
“June 30th?” Gallo was a little bewildered.
“Yes. We need you here at midnight on July 1st when we make our calls to LeBron and Dwayne. You are a major part of our pitch. We need you here on time for the phone call,” said Mike.
“Very well. I want to play with LeBron. Supreme Superstar Tracey McGrady said the only way I would play with LeBron would be to change my citizenship and play in the Olympics for America. I think Tracey is not right,” said Gallo optimistically.
Quite frankly, I'm not so sure how to take this. I am so accustomed to ignoring the Daily News or finding used ones left by patrons at Starbucks and recycling the pages to stay in compliance with pooper scooper laws that I am not sure what to say. On the one hand, however farfetched, the Daily News has decided to do something favorable for New Yorkers. On the other hand, the paper just fall further and further into the abyss of social rag and away from the height of professional journalism. Once again the paper becomes an activist by publishing an open "Dear LeBron" letter telling him why he needs to come to New York (And I thought only blogs, like ours, dealt in fiction and fantasy. LOL). The letter written by the "Daily News Staff" even suggests that the Knicks needed to add a new coach to fit his talents. What hurt a bit though was their suggestion that Brooklyn would be cool too. If LeBron is smart though, I would take this invitation as a bad thing. His camp has got to be thinking that this is a bait and switch type scenario. They'll treat him nice at first, but the Daily News will be the first paper to sell "Go Back To Akron" placards in the paper centerfolds if he doesn't bring us a championship within two months of signing his Knicks contract. Here is the letter in full. What do you think?
You belong in New York. Come and feel the love. The heart of the city will beat for you. The rush will be such as you have never felt. That's life when you have the greatest 8 million fans on the planet behind you.
They pray now for your arrival. We know they do because we have taken the pulse. They see destiny in the pairing.
Larger than life. The best there is. Fast yet graceful. Classy yet gritty. Serious yet exuberant. Tireless yet fun. Tough yet big-hearted. That's you. That's this town. That's two supernovas in alignment. That's a match made in a heaven on Earth.
The NBA championship will soon be decided. We wish you victory. Then we ask you to reimagine New York as a place to live and to soar, as a place where you can achieve your ambition to become a cross between Muhammad Ali and Warren Buffett.
Very few are the people who would dare to shoot so high. Even fewer are those who can do so with credibility. You are unique in that regard, and New York is unique as the way station for the grandest dreams. Think of Broadway as your Yellow Brick Road.
As it is, you're no stranger to the world's capital of media, advertising, finance, culture, fashion, food, education, comedy and so much else, including playground basketball. We know this because, long before free agency loomed, you volunteered that New York was your favorite city.
Right now, the world's best stage for an athlete is the World's Greatest Arena, Madison Square Garden. There's a team waiting there for you - with enough salary-cap room to bring you and a top-notch sidekick aboard.
Add a coach tailor-made for your talents, and multiple championships are in the offing.
UPDATED 5/8/10 5:10pm
(Sorry folks for not completing this piece earlier, but thank you for the fabulous response to the first post of Exit, Stage Right, Almost No One Left: Inside the Knicks Exit Interviews 2010 . This weekend, I finally found a little time and inspiration to complete my transcription of the Knicks' exit interviews as revealed by my inside (my head) sources. My objective is to complete it this weekend and as before, I will reveal it in parts as I transcribe the tapes. Hopefully, I will be done by 8pm on Sunday. So if you're interested keep popping your head in to catch the next revelation. Thanks again. Enjoy.)
Gallo, dressed coolly in white linen pants and a silk shirt, seemed a little worn and slightly tired but his handsomely boyish look still prevailed beneath his wry smile. He walked in, proud as a cock leaving a hen house, with two bottles of wine held chest high.
“Hi, Mr. D. Mr. Dee. What’s a crackin’ up Unc. Where is da parteee?” he shot out in his hard accent in the middle of some smooth footwork as he came deeper into the office.
“Ciao, Danilo. Ho appena chiesto di non chiamarmi zio in ufficio,” said the coach a little more harshly than he usually spoke to his best friend’s son.
“I’m sorry Unc, I mean Coach. You said don’t call you Unc during the season. You didn’t say after the seas- . . ,” said a hurt Danilo.
“C'mon Gallo, lo sai meglio. Siamo ancora al lavoro. The season is not over until you leave this office,” pleaded the Coach in a softer tone when seeing Gallo’s joy start to slip-slide away from his face. “What did you bring us?” asked D’Antoni quickly switching the issue.
“Due vini della California speciali. Un Cabernet Sauvignon della Napa Valley. Robert Mondovi 1999 e un classico vino Nate Robinson ha inviato come regalo di commiato. Si chiama Night Train,”1 responded Gallo who usually spoke in his native tongue when he became upset.
“Night Train? Che merda Nate sinistra è veleno. Che cosa pensa, non so la differenza tra Night Train, Ripple, Thunderbird e un buon vino. Sono da West Virginia, non poodunk Mississippi. Ecco perché ho messo il culo sul treno di mezzanotte per la Hellachusetts e pensa che stia per ottenere che 1 milione di dollari di bonus playoff. Si vedrà. . . ,” 2 said Mike with considerable disdain.
Donnie Walsh busted up laughing.
“What they say? What they say?,” asked the blogger, a little frustrated that he was excluded from the apparent joke.
“Oh that was rude, Tommy. Sorry,” said Mike. “English Danilo, English.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Dee,” Gallo said.
Donnie stopped laughing enough to explain what was being said. “Gallo brought us two bottles of wine to celebrate a successful end to the season. One is a very expensive Californian wine and the other is a gift for Mike from Nate Robinson and Larry Hughes. Mike was saying he expected poison from Nate and he got it. Are you familiar with Night Train, Tommy?”
Here We Go! The 2nd Installment of NBA Look Alikes. This time around we venture into the fictional and supernatural. Yes you might think it's mean but you'll just have to get over it. Some people are a bit funny looking. Exhibit #1: Rajon Rondo
Who bears an uncanny resembelance to............
And then we have Nate "The Great" Robinson
Who Reminds Me of This Guy
He couldn't be any other Ninja Turtle. Robinson is a little bit wreckless, a free spirit and completely loveable. The little brother that's an overachiever and redeemable no matter how bad he messes up.
That Concludes NBA Look Alikes Pt 2. Be on the look out for part 3 coming soon. In the meantime, please tell me in the comments which Ninja Turtle Richard Jefferson would be.