Stephen A.: Report of Knicks Being LeBron James' 1st Choice in 2010 Is 'A Lie'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James gestures to teammates during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Friday, March 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith vehemently disputed a report that the New York Knicks were LeBron James' first choice when he was a free agent in 2010.

On Tuesday's episode of Get Up, Smith called the report "a lie" that's "not true":

Bill Simmons said on Sunday's edition of his podcast (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports) that it was "clear" from everyone he talked to that the Knicks were James' first choice. However, Simmons said the meeting between James and the team was a "disaster" because New York's personnel "didn't have anything prepared."

In a detailed story about "The Decision," ESPN's Brian Windhorst noted the Knicks, among other teams, put themselves in position to sign two stars in the summer of 2010.

New York's meeting with LeBron took place July 1 after he sat down with the Brooklyn Nets.

"Our cars were rolling in as the Nets were rolling out," then-Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni told Windhorst. "It was all surreal. That moment was a great piece of NBA history. We'd been waiting two years to make that pitch."

ESPN's Ian O'Connor wrote in 2010 that the Knicks' pitch to James included a video presentation with actors James Gandolfini and Edie Falco in character as Tony and Carmela Soprano. As well, the Knicks learned beforehand that James loved kids, so they "showed him a video on their Garden of Dreams charity for children in need."

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O'Connor noted that if the Knicks were going to lose out on James, it wouldn't be due to their presentation: "They would have lost it because of their roster."

After James announced he was signing with the Miami Heat, Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reported Knicks owner James Dolan had "outsourced the job of selling James on New York" in a second meeting to former team president Isiah Thomas, who was fired two years prior following a sexual harassment trial.

James teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, and that trio made the NBA Finals in each of their four seasons together, winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.

The Knicks did come out of the summer of 2010 with Amar'e Stoudemire, who made the All-Star team in his first season with the team. They acquired Carmelo Anthony in February 2011 and made three straight playoff appearances from 2011 to 2013, but they have since posted seven consecutive losing seasons.

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