So last night ESPN aired their documentary on The Decision, which meant today would be filled with all the follow up stories about what happened years ago, just like every single week of The Last Dance. As is tradition, this would also include bringing up old stories that would make Knicks fans want to jump off a bridge.
Today's kick in the dick du jour was how the Knicks didn't get a second meeting with LeBron after the way their first meeting went:
ESPN- Before they talked about love and basketball with LeBron James, the Knicks opened their video presentation Thursday with a scene from a LeBron favorite. Suddenly James Gandolfini and Edie Falco were Tony and Carmela Soprano, maybe for the last time, and the look on LeBron's face said he was hoping this show would last an hour or three.
Tony hadn't been killed off by David Chase after all. He was wearing a beard and living with his wife under the cover of the witness protection program, and Tony was telling Carmela he had an important friend coming to town. A friend who needed a place to stay. A friend named LeBron James. Carmela scanned her computer for the ideal midtown spot, and when she told Tony she'd found the right place for a man of James' stature, the final shot wasn't half as suspenseful as The Sopranos' final scene in the diner.
OMGGGGGG, can you believe the Knicks used The SOPRANOS to lure LeBron to New York? What a bunch of idiots. What a bunch of fucking idiots! The only superstar professional athlete you can recruit to your team using actors from The Sopranos is Glenny Balls!
Why wouldn't the Knicks bring in some of the athletes that won on the biggest stage on the planet to let LeBron know he would be king of The Mecca?
Madison Square Garden was the iconic image on the screen, the arena James has called his favorite place to play. From there LeBron would hear taped testimonials to the power of big-city winning from Willis Reed, Mark Messier, Reggie Jackson and Earl Monroe. Spike Lee and Rudy Giuliani had their parts on the video, and Chris Rock told some jokes.
Oh, they did do that? Weird. I didn't see that all over Twitter today. Just the typical Knicks slander with a few unwarranted ricochet shots at Tony and the fellas in Jersey.
But still, a guy like LeBron wasn't going to leave the franchise that drafted him in his home state or pass up a chance to take his talents to South Beach with two superstars just because some celebrities and retired players told him to. How didn't the Knicks at the very least hire a competent coach with an exciting system to go with the cap room they took YEARS to clear.
Wait, what's that?
But the Knicks weren't kidding around. They did their homework. Yeah, they knew LeBron loved The Sopranos. They also knew LeBron loved talking about the transition game more. So Mike D'Antoni spent more than half this meeting on the eighth floor of a Cleveland building talking basketball with a basketball player. Suddenly a high-stakes summit with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line was reduced to a two-man huddle you'd find in shoebox gyms all across America. A coach was drawing up X's and O's for a ballplayer, the two of them engaged in a Rockwellian scene that no max-out talks could taint. The Knicks had their two hours and change in LeBron's presence, with Allan Houston staying behind for a few minutes to get the final word, athlete to athlete, man to man.
Oh. Maybe LeBron was worried he'd have a GM that would leave him with Mo fucking Williams as his 2nd best player again since the Knicks only recently had escaped the salary cap hell that Isiah Thomas sentenced them to?
Walsh spoke of his ability to work the salary cap and keep a LeBron-led Knicks team in contention for the long haul. Dolan told James about his Steinbrennerian willingness to spend, spend and spend some more on luxury taxes. James heard about the $850 million being poured into a new and improved Garden, and the president of MSG Sports, Scott O'Neil, showed LeBron the commissioned study explaining how he could become a billionaire in New York.
Nope! It sounds like the Knicks just didn't have the pieces (along with, lets be honest, the owner) to compete with Pat Riley, the Miami weather, Florida's lack of income tax, Dwyane Wade in his prime, and why the fuck are you still reading this? Of course LeBron chose to go to Miami for reasons that didn't involve Tony Soprano.
James might decide to go with Cleveland, Chicago, New Jersey or Miami. He might pick up his cell and end the Knicks' quest in a New York minute. If that happens, if LeBron James rejects Tony Soprano's offer he could refuse, the Knicks wouldn't have lost the game because of their presentation. They would have lost it because of their roster.
I don't know if it's because the article I'm quoting was written a decade ago a few days before The Decision even happened or if it was written during a time where every single headline wasn't a D Wade lob for someone to dunk on the Knicks like LeBron James.
But that just seems like old fashioned logic to me. I'm sure James Dolan being an asshole and Donnie Walsh appearing in rough shape may not have helped matters. However, there's no reason to keep ripping open the wounds of us poor ass Knicks fans on Mondays, which already suck enough as is, just because ESPN aired a basketball documentary on Sunday night. This is especially the case when it comes to the Knicks missing out on LeBron since not only did it hurt every single Knicks fan that wanted to see a winner at MSG but it especially hurts for the Knicks fans that bought season tickets hoping LeBron was going to sign, like Steven Cheah did once upon a time. How has that investment panned out Steve?
Yup, all this still hurts. A LOT. To the point I wish people would stop talking about it so I don't have to blog about it or relive those first few weeks where Amare was unstoppable before his knees were ground to a fine paste. Which is why when these reports bubble up again at the end of the week for The Decision's ten year anniversary, I am going to say what a wise
man guy once said:
Also make no mistake about it, if LeBron came out tomorrow and said the reason he didn't sign with the Knicks is because he thinks James Dolan is a giant pile of shit, I wouldn't be shocked in the least. Because, as always, fuck this franchise.
P.S. There is no doubt in my mind that Paulie Walnuts would've sealed the deal with LeBron if he was in that video.