LeBron James Snubs New York, Thierry Henry Is Not a Bad Consolation Prize

Derrick LightfootContributor IJuly 9, 2010

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 22:  Thierry Henry of France looks on during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between France and South Africa at the Free State Stadium on June 22, 2010 in Mangaung/Bloemfontein, South Africa.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Nothing will be able to fully heal Knicks fans of their broken hearts after LeBron James' choice to go to the Miami Heat (unless of course the universe folds and the Knicks win a ring before the Heat do), but New York could be welcoming another superstar in Thierry Henry.

Barcelona have released the French star, and it has long been rumored that Henry will come to America to join the MLS, more specifically the New York Red Bulls. (The move is all but confirmed now with the Red Bulls set to unveil a new designated player on July 15th.)

Right away comparisons to Beckham will be made, but this is a semi-different scenario. Henry doesn't quite have the star power Beckham does, and is going to New York rather than star studded LA. Obviously New York has some star power, but it's no Hollywood.

So off the field, Henry won't be able to offer quite what Beckham offered, but on the field he should be able to provide more.

At a time where soccer is probably at its biggest in the States, Henry can come into one of the biggest markets in the U.S. and put on a show for fans of the game. What perfect timing with the World Cup coming to an end.

Henry will be able to step in and provide a potent striking partnership with captain Juan Pablo Angel. The Red Bulls currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference, two points back of the Columbus Crew who have a point in hand. Adding a player of Henry's calibre will give them a more than legitimate shot at capturing the MLS Cup.

Beckham's arrival was supposed to signal an exodus of aging European stars to the MLS and in turn trigger much more interest in soccer from a North American viewpoint. At the time the signing was announced there was a lot of coverage, but it sizzled quite quickly, although almost every LA Galaxy away game sold out in hopes to get a glimpse of Becks.

But AC Milan came a knockin' and Beckham couldn't refuse the opportunity to play for one of the world's most prestigious clubs and stay in shape and boost his chances of featuring for England at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

During his loan spell, Beckham picked up an injury that kept him out of the World Cup and the rest of the MLS Season. Beckham is not the most liked man in LA, he even had a little spat with Galaxy captain and American hero Landon Donovan.

It's unknown if the same would happen with Henry. I do think he would snap up a loan opportunity during the MLS offseason so he can continue playing with the French National team as they try to save face after the fiasco that was their 2010 World Cup.

But I doubt he will show any home sickness when he is here. He has a lot of friends in North America including Steve Nash, Tony Parker, and other NBA stars. (Also reading up on Henry, he's a fan of the Wu-Tang Clan. Atta boy Henry.)

Henry won't quite bring the marketing power Becks brought (he could come damn close though), but he should be able to provide a lot of goals and creativity on the field for the Red Bulls. A great move for North American soccer and the New York Red Bulls.