Just imagine Chris Paul running the fast break with players flanking him on both sides. In fact, it's a whole trio of teammates, ready to convert on a four-on-one opportunity with a thunderous alley-oop slam.
It's a delicious possibility, right?
Well, that dream might've become a reality if Donald Sterling hadn't been in charge of the Los Angeles Clippers back in 2010 when King James was a free agent preparing to make his infamous decision—one that ultimately saw him take his talents to South Beach and team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
According to a news release from ESPN, David Geffen (a multi-billionaire who is teaming up with Oprah Winfrey in an attempt to purchase the L.A.-based franchise) told ESPN's Jeremy Schaap that LeBron had seriously considered choosing the Clippers over the Miami Heat:
Geffen also told Schaap that superstar LeBron James was interested in playing in Los Angeles when he was a free agent in 2010. But James, who ultimately signed with the Miami Heat, told Geffen that he would not play for Sterling.
Geffen didn't specifically disclose why James did not want to play for Sterling.
"[The] reasons are perfectly clear," Geffen said.
Just in case you've been living under a pile of rocks for the last few days, those reasons would be Sterling's history of racism, which came to a head this week when his recorded remarks led to NBA commissioner Adam Silver bringing down the hammer.
James has become more than just a basketball player; he's an active member of his communities, a fabulous spokesperson for the Association and a man very conscious and outspoken about social issues. It shouldn't come as a surprise that playing for an owner as poorly regarded as Sterling would be an issue.
"We're fighting to get an owner out of our league who shouldn't be a part of our league," James said, via ESPN's Michael Wallace, after the Silver press conference announced the punishments for Sterling. "No matter how long it takes, no matter how much money it costs, we need to get him out of there—and whoever is associated with him doesn't belong in our league."
Even back in 2006, well before LeBron hit the open market, there was public outcry about Sterling, largely stemming from a housing lawsuit. The reigning MVP clearly isn't alone here.
"It was fun to laugh at Donald Sterling when he was a joke," wrote ESPN's Bomani Jones. "Now that we know what he's up to when he's being serious, he deserves a lot more attention."
Which would be more fun?
If Sterling had been pushed to sell the team and actually ceded to that pressure before 2010, it's entirely possible that the course of NBA history could be drastically altered. Of course, it could be changed once more if LeBron opts out of his contract with the Heat and chooses to hit the open market after these playoffs draw to a conclusion.
He apparently considered the Clippers once in the past; perhaps he'd do so again now that Sterling is expected to be removed from his ownership position. Though there would need to be some maneuvering done by LAC, it's by no means impossible.
But let's say Sterling wasn't there in 2010.
Miami might not have two more trophies on the mantle. It's entirely possible that we could be talking about a Big Three composed of LeBron, CP3 and Griffin, although the finances of luring Paul to Tinseltown one year later would've been tricky.
Clippers fans, I'm not sure whether I should tell you to stop salivating or to mop up your tears.