Following boos from his own fans, an accusatory interview session, and a long drive home, LeBron James sits on a throne-like arm chair in his living room.
The room is completely dark to fit the King's mood —a King who mentally debates the worth of his kingdom.
Cell phone in hand, LeBron purses his lips as he contemplates whether he should call his enemy for advice. Enemy yes, but maybe the only one who can empathize with how LeBron feels.
That last thought clinches it. LeBron hits the voice command key and says in a low voice, "Call. Kevin Garnett."
KG: 'Sup, 'Bron?
LBJ: Yo, man.
KG: Can't sleep? I couldn't either if I was you, bro.
LBJ: I know, bro. Just didn't have it tonight.
KG: I feel ya. What's up?
LeBron hesitates, readying himself to admit the inner bird's nest of thoughts he's kept hidden from the world. Finally, like a kid off a high-dive, he plunges in.
LBJ: What convinced you to leave Minnesota, bro?
Garnett pauses, realizing the import of Lebron's question, the honesty, and knowing it deserves an equally honest answer.
KG: Honestly, man, it was knowin' I'd given my all to that team, you know? My sweat, blood, tears, hours of work, and seeing it wasted. Took it as long as I could, but had to realize they weren't givin' me the same, you know?
LeBron nods, now feeling justified despite calling his playoff foe.
LBJ: I dunno, bro. I kinda feel the same way. I mean, I've gotten better every year, but the team? I dunno.
KG nods. It's like listening to himself three years ago. LeBron goes on.
LBJ: I mean, common', man. It's a joke goin' one-on-five against you guys. It's no mystery why I had such a bad night. My elbow may be bruised, but our offense is effin' broke.
Plus, I'm sick of management piecin' a roster around me last-minute hoping it'll work. Mo Williams is alright, but he ain't no No. 2 guy.
Antawn, he just got here, and he didn't show up tonight either. He was supposed to be my No. 2, the missing piece. I don't hear him gettin' booed out there, and he ain't even been here a whole season.
KG: Man, I felt the same way back in Minny, man. Played over a decade with mostly three and four bananas tryin' to be No. 2's. Mo is like my Sam Cassell, man. Antawn's like my Sprewell...just smarter, probably.
LBJ's leaning forward in his throne now, nodding grimly and feeling thoroughly justified now.
LBJ: Exactly, bro! See, you know how it is! I'm sick of teams gettin' the guys they need for their stars.
Boston got you and Ray to go around Pierce. Kobe got Pau. Me? It took them four years to finally get me Antawn, but they waited 'till we were already on a roll. Then we had to start over and get him involved, and he's still playin' like he's stuck on the Wizards.
But seriously, I'm sick and tired of gettin' hammered goin' to the rack, while everyone else just stands and watches. Varejao's the only guy, who knows how to effin' cut!
KG listens, knowing Lebron's venting is helping him, but also knowing it vital to help LeBron figure out what to do next.
KG: Look, man. I ain't sayin' we gonna win this series or that you're gonna leave this summer. But, if it ain't Cleveland, where you thinkin'?
LeBron pauses, trying to put words to the thoughts reporters had forced there for the last two years.
LBJ: I dunno, bro. I mean, I know New York ain't got nobody right now, but it'd be money playin' the point for D'Antoni. Plus they got enough cash to get both me and someone else.
KG: That's cool, but if you think Cleveland's booing is bad, I don't know how you'd like New York. You already lookin' there, or other places too?
Then I could finish instead of doing everything like here. Don't know if I could handle playing with Noah, though. The kid's a drama queen.
KG laughs in agreement
KG: Oh I know, man! The kid was either angry or crying all last year before we finally beat them. If you go to Chicago, you have to do somethin' to him, man, like cut off his ponytail while he's sleepin' on the bus or somethin'.
LBJ: Absolutely, bro. You know another place I been thinkin' about—L.A.
KG pauses, confused and scared at the same time.
KG: You gonna take a pay-cut to team up with Kobe and Pau, man?
LBJ: Hell no! I meant the Clippers, bro! They got enough cash give me the max, and they already got Baron, Kaman, and hopefully the Griffin kid if he can come back.
Plus, think of the pub I'd get playin' and winnin' as a Clipper in Kobe's house.
KG: I dunno, man. They are the Clippers. What if you go Danny Manning on them and tear everything in your knee.
LeBron sobers up.
LBJ: That's true. Forget it, then. But yeah bro, I just needed to let this out, and I figured you'd get where I was comin' from.
KG: Oh no doubts, man. I feel you. You need anything else, you just call. Oh, and hope you lose Thursday.
LBJ: Same to you, bro.
LeBron hangs up, and then makes his way to his room, still hearing the Cleveland boos and picturing different uniforms with a No. 6 and his name on the back.