LeBron To New York? Fuhgetaboudit!

Jon SladekCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 03:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on during the game against the New Jersey Nets at the Izod Center on March 3, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Cavs have played their final game against the New York Knicks, which means, at least until the summer, we have heard the last from the smarter-than-you New York media.

For the last few years, they arrive in Cleveland when the Knicks are in town, toting around a sense of entitlement like a piece of luggage. They can’t imagine how a once-in-a-generation superstar like LeBron James could possibly entertain the idea of remaining in Cleveland and bypass representing the “Basketball Mecca” on a nightly basis.

They ignore LeBron’s long-standing request and ask questions about free agency, because after all, the results of this NBA season are of little interest to them. The very real possibility that James may lead Cleveland to its first major sports championship in nearly five decades pales in comparison to speculating the odds of the King calling Madison Square Garden his castle next season.

Just how did New York become the “Basketball Mecca” anyways? Shouldn’t that title be reserved for, say, Boston, a city that boasts 17 basketball championships? The Knicks have two titles, the last coming in 1973. How about Los Angeles? The Lakers have captured 10 championships in L.A. and have an eye-popping .635 winning percentage since moving from Minneapolis in 1961. By the way, the Knicks' franchise winning percentage is sub-.500.

LeBron has stated several times that winning is very important to him. Well, winning is not something the New York Knicks do very often, especially recently. This year’s edition is on pace to easily eclipse the 50-loss mark for the third straight season. New York has not finished over .500 since 2001 and has not appeared in the NBA postseason since 2004. Since Jeff Van Gundy, it has been an endless revolving door of failed coaches and front office personnel. It is basically an old franchise with classic uniforms that uses its history and an overrated venue to distract from present-day futility. (Sound familiar, Browns fans?)

LeBron has expended millions of calories over a span of seven years converting the Cavaliers from a 17-win disgrace to one of the league’s premier franchises. The Cavs have a very real possibility of becoming only the second team in NBA history to win 65 or more games in back-to-back seasons. It was in Michael Jordan’s seventh season he began his unprecedented run of championships in Chicago, forever securing the Bulls’ place in history as a dynasty. This season is LeBron’s seventh as a Cavalier.

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Is suiting up alongside Elvis Presley’s ghost in a 42-year-old Madison Square Garden for a snake-bitten franchise really enough to pry LeBron away from home?

Oh, right, I am forgetting all the endorsement deals he will finally enjoy in New York. LeBron can finally maximize his marketability and people around the country may actually start to recognize his likeness if he’s in the top media market. C’mon, New York—I’m as big a fan as anyone, and even I’ll admit the LeBron commercials have already gotten to be a tad excessive. I’m pretty sure a “James” Cavaliers jersey can be purchased in every corner of America.

Obviously LeBron isn’t a lock to be in Cleveland next season. There are many potential destinations for him and only he knows where he wants to be. But if New Yorkers are already purchasing tickets to see the LeBron-lead Knicks next year, they are probably going to be disappointed. Of course, if they are truly Knicks fans, disappointment should be nothing new.

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