Before we press PLAY on what could be the biggest day in some basketball team’s history (recent history, at least), we have to hit PAUSE real quick: During the “SportsCenter” lead-up to this LeBron James program, Shelly Smith was reporting live from a Cleveland bar when one of the anchors said, “It looks like the fans behind you are getting oiled-up for the show.” Oiled-up?? I know Greenwich, Conn., is near the WWE campus, but I didn’t realize Triple H and Randy Orton were gonna be involved in this …
* LeBron walks in the room, flanked by two gigantic goons who I assume are his bodyguards. I’m guessing Braylon Edwards didn’t get an invite.
* It’s me, Aron Phillips, Daniel Marks and Sean Sweeney in the Dime office. I’m only here because I just moved back to NY last week and still don’t have a TV. No idea why these guys haven’t gone home yet. Sweeney is a Lakers fan and AP is a Celtics fan. If LeBron goes to Miami, those two might need a few drinks.
* Somebody we know just texted that Kanye West is in the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club. I’m not sure if they’re serious or kidding. All day people have been making jokes about Kanye rushing the stage to interrupt LeBron to tell the world that Carmelo is really the best player in the world, and now it might actually happen.
* Overheard in the room: “This is like a LeBron suck-fest.” … “He’s gonna start wearing a crown after this.”
* Not that anybody really cares about the pre-announcement stuff, but right now they’re re-capping the other big offseason moves for the teams relevant to the LeBron chase: Amar’e to New York, Chris Bosh and D-Wade in Miami, Boozer to Chicago. Taking LeBron out of the equation, my favorite move out of that group was the Bulls picking up Boozer. They’ve needed a real low-post scorer for years and they finally got one. Derrick Rose now has a legit pick-and-roll threat.
* ESPN does the “Here’s how LeBron would look in (Team X) jersey” and didn’t even bother Photo-shopping the Clippers. That’s cold.
* Who is more nervous than Chris Broussard right now? He’s been saying Miami all day, and if it’s NOT Miami, Broussard turns into the next Sam Smith. Nobody will believe anything he reports.
* Speaking of, I like how ESPN has been putting a Heat logo next to LeBron all day and telling us he’s going to Miami, then act surprised when their viewer poll is so heavily swayed towards the Heat.
* RT @JoshCribbs16 — “I’m getting the word that he’s going to stay in Cleveland.” If you don’t know, Cribbs is the Cleveland Browns’ best player and boys with LeBron.
* I can’t even explain why, but I hope he stays in Cleveland.
* And here we go … Jim Gray gets cute and asks, “So what’s new? What’s going on this summer?” You know Gray wanted to just ask straight-out “Who is it?” but I’m sure he’s under orders to stretch this out as long as possible.
* LeBron just happens to have a Vitamin Water next to his director’s chair. Surely that was a coincidence.
* Gray: “How many people know your decision right now?” LeBron: “Not too many.” I’d guess LeBron, his girl, his Mom, a couple of his boys, and some people at Nike. LeBron then says the team he’s picking just found out.
* LeBron says one big thing is he wants to win now. So the Clippers are out, the Nets are out. I’m guessing. The Heat, Cavs and maybe the Knicks (depending on who else they sign) can win right now with LeBron.
* And … it’s … the Miami Heat. Wow.
* As soon as he said, “This is very tough,” I officially canceled out Cleveland.
* My gut still says Pat Riley will be coaching this team within the next year, but LeBron says Erik Spoelstra is still the coach. Can you imagine being in Spoelstra’s shoes right now? He rose up within the organization from video coordinator to head coach at a relatively young age, and now he’s at the helm of what might be one of the most talented NBA teams of all-time.
* Back in the studio, Jon Barry says he’s disappointed that D-Wade and LeBron won’t be singularly dominating games anymore.
* They show the reaction shots from bars in Miami and Cleveland … then cut back to Mike Wilbon in his best Alfred Hitchcock pose. When you saw the guy in the Cavs LeBron jersey jumping up and down in the Miami bar, why would Stu Scott presume he was a Cavs fan? Obviously he was just a LeBron fan.
* The happiest guys in the League right now? All the other free agents whose phones have been silent as teams waited for LeBron to pick. (And I’m not criticizing LeBron at all for taking as long as he did. It’s a major life decision and he should take all the time he wants/needs.) Now guys like Earl Watson and Damien Wilkins can see what’s out there for them.
* Good point by LeBron: This is not a “super-team” yet because they only have five players so far. I’ve said all day to everybody who asked me if Miami would win a ‘chip with LeBron that it depends on their bench. They need good coaching, a good bench, great defense, and THEN the superstars to go all the way.
* A reader commented, “The so called ‘king’ (note the lower case ‘k’) couldn’t hack it in his own kingdom so he’s settling on becoming the Princess (capital ‘P’) in someone else’s.” So winning two MVP’s and 50-60 games every year and averaging 27-8-7 doesn’t even count as “hacking it” anymore? Damn…
* Video footage of people in Cleveland burning a LeBron jersey. And Wilbon actually asks LeBron what he thinks about it. LeBron looks a bit hurt by that, but sticks to the “It’s a business/I couldn’t make an emotional decision” script. He had to know some people would react like that, though.
* I think Stu is trying to get LeBron to cry. He asked “Which text or call meant the most to you?” but LeBron said he’d turned his phone off. So Stu came right back with, “Which person during the process meant the most?” and almost got LBJ to choke up. Roy Firestone is somewhere shaking his head calling Stu an amateur.
* Asked if he’s gonna take #6 from Mario Chalmers, LeBron says, “We’ll work something out.” As in Chalmers will give up #6 out of respect for the older guy and gladly take whatever number they give him.
* I feel bad for Glen Rice. He just got knocked off the Miami Heat all-time starting lineup at small forward.
* Asked about playing Obama in H-O-R-S-E, LeBron says, “Pretty much all lefties can shoot.” He must have forgotten about Anthony Mason.
* Looks like it’s just recapping by the ESPN crew from here on. I gotta catch the train up to 155th and it’s not a short ride. I’m out like the Cavs …