Every time LeBron James went to the foul line last night, chants of “New York Knicks” began radiating around the new Boston Garden.
Despite a triple-double, James appeared disconnected from the game and his teammates for most of an evening that led to a 94-85 Celtics win and yet another early playoff exit for the Cavaliers.
Needless to say, the New York Post ran a headline in their sports section first thing this morning titled “Bring on The King,” as if James had already been signed, sealed, and delivered to Madison Square Garden.
But, let’s just for a moment think about James’ decision in an objective manner.
Aside from playing in the largest market in American sports, what can the New York Knicks really offer James in terms of his ultimate goals?
The guy is already one of the top-five paid athletes in the world in terms of his endorsement dollars, and he just signed his latest Nike contract without a common clause that pays athletes more money if they were to move to a larger, more populated market.
Money is not, and will not be an issue for James wherever he signs.
He knows that the only path to basketball immortality is through NBA titles. As of right now, he has yet to win one and he will probably go at least another three-to-four years without winning one of he were to come to the broken-down clunker of a team that has become the New York Knicks.
Let’s also not forget the ongoing love/hate relationship that New York fans have with their athletes. For all the good that New York fans can bring to the table, there’s also a lot of bad.
James is a guy that has enjoyed the love and adoration of his fan base since he was 12 years old.
New York fans, on the other hand, are not exactly what you’d describe as the most loyal bunch.
He comes to New York and has five bad games, and he will be attempting to play basketball while his hometown crowd is simultaneously attempting to boo him off the court.
Every newspaper and magazine in New York will have you believe that James is already a Knick, and has been for the past year.
But take one step back to look at James’ decision objectively, and you will quickly see that aside from the aura that “New York” carries with it, there’s very little the Knicks can offer James right now as it pertains to his ultimate goal.
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