The past week's Lebron-a-thon comes to an end at nine o’clock tonight. King James will announce his decision at a press conference to be aired by ESPN (followed by an hour long special entitled “The Decision”).
The rest of this year’s highly impressive crop of young free agents have already aligned themselves with a team, leaving James alone in the already Lebron-tinted lime-light.
By and large, nobody has been able to agree on where Lebron will end up.
Knicks fans claim he’d be stupid not to go to New York and renew the glory of a freshly renovated Madison Square Garden. And, any fans who happened to be watching SNY after the Mets game last night undoubtedly took note of the footage of Lebron in a Yankees cap.
Nets fans lean on the influence of Lebron’s friend Sean Carter (better known as Jay-Z), who owns a mere one-and-a-half percent of the Nets.
LA residents hope to replace their less-than-savory Kobe as the face of their city while folk in Miami lay on the tempting beaches and fantasize about the possibility of the perfect threesome (not that kind) running up and down the floor boards of American Airlines Arena.
Cleveland desperately hopes that their close vicinity to Akron will save the one sports team they have to be proud of.
Only Chicago has any real reason(s) to rest easy. Here are just five.
The first reason Lebron will end up in Chicago is the same reason he’s not staying in Cleveland.
As much as he loves attending St. Vincent-St.Mary High School sporting events and hanging out with his high school homies, vicinity to Akron, Ohio has probably been one of his many considerations this past week. Less than 400 miles away from the star’s beloved home town, Chicago fits into this requirement far better than any of Lebron’s other suitors.
At 25 (despite being ringless) Lebron has already been crowned King James by NBA fans and pundits across the nation. Drafted No. 1 overall (two higher than MJ) straight out of high school (MJ spent three seasons at UNC before entering the draft), Lebron is already legend. (Ask your local bartender for a “LeBomb” James shot, but be prepared to be met with glares and be sure to tip well. It helps if you offer to clean it up yourself.)
Even (or especially) with his current status it must be tempting to displace our generation’s definition of basketball. What better place to do so than in the city that made him? Especially since most pundits are claiming MJ’s status is untouchable (nobody seems to remember his foray into golf and baseball there in the Favre-esque years at the end).
When one thinks of basketball, one thinks of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry and the Chicago Bulls (because of the aforementioned MJ).
People claim that the marketing power of New York is greater than any other and that may be true in many cases. But, not in this one.
The New York Knicks have been off the radar for Lebron’s entire consciousness. They have recorded seasons under .500 the last nine years and counting and haven’t been truly competitive since the early ‘90s (when Lebron was seven years old).
In fact, the only time in Lebron’s lifetime that the Knicks made it to the NBA Finals was during Jordan’s first retirement. The previous year, they were the top of their division but were removed from contention by the Bulls in the second round.
Despite what people say about the Knicks in their hey-day, this generation (Lebron’s generation) was aware of nothing but Michael Jordan and his Bulls. How could anyone (living legends and otherwise) avoid their generation’s definition of greatness in their respective field?
The Bulls hold the best regular season record of any team in the history of the NBA (72-10 in the ’95-’96 season)
The Bulls have won six championships in the last two decades (the Spurs and Lakers each have one only four in the same time span).
The Bulls are one of two multi-championship NBA teams with a 100 percent success rate after reaching the Finals (the Spurs are the other).
Chicago was named the Best Sports City by The Sporting News in 1993 and in 2006.
Chicago is the only team courting Lebron that comes close to representing the greatness he craves.
Lebron has already done the team re-building thing. Now he wants to win championships, and his time with the Cavaliers has shown him he can’t do it by himself.
With Derrick Rose, Luol Deng, and Joakim Noah fleshing out Chicago’s roster, Lebron will be hard-pressed not to find at least one player that can compliment him into a championship ring. Now with the addition of the Utah Jazz’ Carlos Boozer, whose stats are just shy of Rose’s but on par with Deng and Noah’s, Chicago has the makings of a rotatable powerhouse that could rival pairs like Jordan/Pippen, Shaq/Kobe, and Malone/Stockton—with the addition of Lebron that is.
No other team (save Miami’s newest makeup) has the same kind of base in place that Chicago does.
The Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire is just one man.
The Clippers and Nets have no one significant who comes to mind (besides the Clippers’ newly acquired rookie Eric Bledsoe) and the Cavaliers have been letting Lebron down consistently.
As of yesterday, Miami has two out of three of a dream-on sort of superset.
Chris Bosh turned up the Heat when he agreed to terms with the residents of American Airlines Arena but it may be a little too hot for the King.
Even with Bosh and Wade reportedly willing to take less money to accommodate another high-profile addition, less money is not what Wade will be looking for. He will not want to compete with two other big stars for sponsorships and contract considerations.
Lebron will not want to leave a demographic that declares a “Lebron James Appreciation Day” (June 19th in Akron, Ohio) for a place where his teammate has his own county.
New York/New Jersey/Brooklyn won’t be any better. New York area sports are already defined by faces such as Eli Manning, Derek Jeter, and A-Rod. The mayor promises anonymity? Naturally. New York is a city where everyone is famous and nobody cares.
LA already has Kobe. And, who cares about the people over on the Clippers’ side of town.
The King wants more than that.
He’s hungry for rings.
He wants to make an impression.
The nation is on the edge of her seat waiting for this epic moment in basketball history. Indeed, this one move could shape the next decade in the NBA.
Tonight Lebron is sure to razzle-dazzle us all with his much anticipated announcement.