If you were unaware, LeBron has a new shoe, based off of NYC's graffiti, that is only being sold in New York. And the Nike store in New York? It's basically become a LeBron James museum. Henry at TrueHoop (which if you like basketball at all, you should already be reading) says this will all provide fodder for the LeBron/NYC conspiracy theories. There's also a multistory neon billboard of LeBron a block from Madison Square Garden.
So this should all mean that LeBron is gonna go to New York right? And Cleveland fans should be freaked out, right? Right?
Well, I would be kinda scared, except for the fact that LeBron re-upped with the Cavaliers. Even though Isiah Thomas kept signing guys who shared an agent with LBJ. Shrewd business move there.
Also, about that neon billboard... LeBron hasn't seen it (from a great article by Adrian Wojnarowski):
Wah? B-b-b-but... he needs a big market!!
"I've heard about it," James said, but he hadn't bothered to leave his midtown Manhattan hotel to see for himself.
James shrugged his shoulders. Magic and Michael would have left the hotel to see themselves here, but LeBron never bothered. He never bothered to play the New York bargaining chip game, never bothered raising the possibility that maybe this would be the one city, the one building, big enough to blast his brand to the ends of the earth.
He didn't need a business school degree to understand the NBA's new world market. In the information age, LeBron could be King James anywhere, including the shadows of his hometown of Akron.
Have anyone in the media actually ever heard LeBron speak? He goes on the Daily Show (when it's in Ohio, not New York) and says he probably would've come to OSU if he was supposed to go to college. Now, he may have just been pandering to the crowd, but before declared, OSU was one of the schools rumored to land him (along with Duke and Akron).
He never needed the World's Most Famous Arena the way Magic Johnson did the Fabulous Forum and the way Larry Bird needed Boston Garden.
"I never thought about that," James said. "Me being from Ohio, playing high school basketball in Ohio and now being a professional athlete in Ohio, playing in this arena as a home court never crossed my mind."
Listen to his thoughts on the Ohio State-Michigan game:
James made his prediction for Saturday's Big Ten championship game: OSU 24, Michigan 21. ''It will probably be the only time in my career I won't take a nap (on the day of a game),'' James said. ''I'll be watching them. Hopefully, we can pull out the game and we can go to the BCS championship game.''He was also at the OSU-Texas game. He likes Ohio. Isn't that weird? He calls Ohio State 'we'. He was born and raised here. Stephan Marbury spurs the Timberwolves and Kevin Garnett because he wants to play near home and no one thinks anything of it. Of course he'd leave one of the best players in the world to go play for the Nets. He'd even welcome a trade to reunite him with Garnett, but only in New York:
Before the game, reporters asked Marbury about reuniting with Garnett.
"In New York? That'd be great," he said.
What about in Minnesota?
See, some guys like to be home, even at the expense of winning (honestly, Marbury could've made multiple playoff runs with Garnett. This angers the basketball fan in me), but since their home town is New York, it's okay. But LeBron re-ups with his hometown and the rumors continue to swirl that he can't wait to leave for New York.
I've now resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to be reading the LeBron to New York rumors for the rest of his time in Cleveland. They could win multiple championships but someone is always going to say he can't wait to play for the Brooklyn Nets with Nenad Kristic.
I know it's going to keep happening and that it won't stop. It's just the nature of the beast. But no one should be remotely worried about LeBron leaving until it actually happens, because guess what Cleveland fans, he's here now. Enjoy it.