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November 6, 2009

The NY Yankees Are The Champions!!! But NYC Throws LeBron James A Party?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The New York courtship of LeBron James began in earnest when the scheduling gods curiously put his only appearance at Madison Square Garden on the same day as the Yankees’ World Series victory parade.

NY Yankee 5 Hideki Matsui  If you believe in conspiracy theories, then this is right up there with the “chilled” envelope pulled by David Stern in the 1985 Draft lottery, putting Patrick Ewing in New York. You mean LeBron, a die-hard Yankees fan, gets an up-close look while the city is being painted in pinstripes? Is there a better marketing opportunity?

Is this better than anything Madison Avenue could dream up?

Yankees Parade Baseball  The Knicks hope the intoxicating celebrity factor will be enough to sway LeBron next summer as a free agent, because that’s all the Knicks really have in their favor. They can’t offer more money. They can’t offer a better collection of teammates, at least not right away. They can offer Spike Lee while Cleveland offers Drew Carey. They can (and will, you watch) get Spike and Chris Rock, among other celebrity row fixtures, to make a recruiting film in which famous people explain to LeBron why playing in New York will be far more enjoyable than playing in Cleveland.

(Sample pitch from Rock: “Hey LeBron, where you celebratin’ after a tough game in Cleveland? Arby’s?”)

NY Yankees Derek Jeter Trophy  A handful of the Yankees, still smelling of champagne, will be strategically seated at courtside Friday, making LeBron the second-most loved athlete in the house … if Derek Jeter shows up.

Yankees Parade Baseball  Then there’s C.C. Sabathia, big basketball fan and friend of LeBron’s from when Sabathia played in Cleveland; he left for New York and scored an instant jackpot, both with money and a ring. The video screen will constantly show their faces and they’ll get a standing ovation, all designed to show LeBron what it’s like to be a champion in New York. And the fans, no doubt, will chime in, cheering LeBron at warmups (like, who else will they cheer this year?), gushing whenever he does something spectacular and chanting “MVP,” as they did last year, when he dropped 52 on the Knicks.

World Series Yankees Baseball  All this will play to LeBron’s ego and convince him that a star of his magnitude needs to be in New York. That theory, by the way, is obsolete. Maybe 20-25 years ago, a star could receive better perks in New York, as Reggie Jackson did when he left the small market A’s. But with the global media and advertising of today, that’s not really necessary. LeBron blew up commercially without ever leaving Cleveland, and that will continue to be the case if he stays in Cleveland.

NY Yankees 5 A Rod J Z  Obviously, the big factor for LeBron is collecting championships and whether his best chance is in Cleveland with a Cavs’ team that’s probably third-best behind Boston and Orlando and lacks a starry supporting cast, or a Knicks team being furiously stripped and rebuilt on the fly. The Knicks hope it also comes down to the stars and whether LeBron wants to hang with his buddy Jay-Z after the game, or retire to his palatial pad in Cleveland and call it a night.

That’ll be LeBron’s decision to make next July. And guess what? The Yankees should be in first place then, too.

Friday, November 6 @ 8pm EST on ESPN Cleveland Cavaliers at New York Knicks!

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May 21, 2009

NBA Playoffs: Magic Dust Beats Chalk Dust

The game started with Superman Dwight Howard’s dunk bringing down the goal — literally — and the crowd in the “Q” oohed and aahed.  It seems like Howard doesn’t know his personal strength but Team Magic proved that it is strong enough to take down the Cavaliers.

When the game started the Cavs had all the momentum.  They have only lost two games at home all season, they had won their first eight playoff games – they seemed ready to sweep everyone out of their way to being champions.  They came out firing on all cylinders right from the get-go and dominated the Magic for most of the first three quarters. LeBron and the entire team seemed focused, forceful and fierce. They seemed invincible. The referees seemed to even help the Cavs at times by giving them calls that should have gone the other way.  This seemed like it would be an easy victory and the Cavs would blow the Magic out of the water.

LeBron had a terrific game – he was simply awesome but he alone cannot beat a team that can get really hot at anytime during the game because of their 3-point shooters. James even broke his career playoff high – he scored 49 points but his bench did little to help him offensively. For most of the second half it looked like the Cavaliers of old — they gave the ball to LeBron and watched him hold the ball for 20 seconds then shoot. That strategy won’t work against the Orlando Magic.

Coach Van Gundy strategy of putting Mickael Pietrus (who did a GREAT job) on James allowed Hedo Turkoglu to put more energy in his offense and he ended up with 15 points and 14 assists. In addition Zydrunas Ilgauskus is a terrible matchup for the young Super-strong Howard who had a sensational game and ended the night with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Illgaukus is too old and slow to defend Howard in the paint or guard Lewis and Turkoglu on the pick and roll. The Cavs weren’t able to get back in transition and seemed totally unprepared when the Magic kicked-out for threes off the fast break. Rashard Lewis had a terrific game and ended the night with 22 points.

Turkoglu and Lewis combined for 21 of Orlando’s 29 points in the fourth quarter and Lewis buried the game winning 3-pointer with 14.7 seconds remaining!

The “Q” crowd started the game oohing and aahing but filed out of the Quicken Loans Arena stunned and silent.

Game 2 tips off on Friday at 8:30pm ET on TNT.

May 18, 2009

NBA Playoffs: Will We See a Kobe/LeBron Final?

Kobe LeBron 2  There should be no political correctness during the playoffs and that’s the way it should remain.  Supporters should not hide their love for their favorite teams.  I understand players being diplomatic because they don’t want to provide fodder that will annoy, irritate or anger their opponents.  But I’m not a player so I don’t have to be genteel.  

I’m simply a fan who loves basketball and I want to see a Kobe/LeBron final.  I specifically didn’t say Kobe versus LeBron or LeBron versus Kobe. Simply a Kobe/LeBron final. I want to see a modern day gladiatorial style sports battle. 

No disrespect to the Magic or Nuggets but I hope Team Kobe and Team LeBron bounce you out of the way – quickly.

I am not completely delusional; I do know that both the LeBron Cavaliers and the Kobe Lakers face teams that could in fact maybe possibly beat them.

Kobe LeBron 1

Yes, the Denver Nuggets swept through their first two rounds and the Lakers had to go to a game 7 in their second round. But the Lakers are consummate warriors and I believe that they will come out to battle every night against the Nuggets.  I think their every-other-game lackadaisical play against Houston is a thing of the past and taught the Lakers a lesson about public perception and they now have something to prove so they will come out with crazed passion and fervor!

So, can the Nuggets get pass the Lakers who have home court advantage?

There is also the really, really far-flung possibility that Orlando might come out roaring and magically upset Cleveland’s chances of going to the finals buuut NOT so much.  I have heard from a not so reliable source that Team Magic is spending today in Church and lighting candles for St. Christopher, the patron saint of sports because in order to win this series Orlando will have to win at least two close games and win at least one game, maybe two, in Cleveland.  I don’t think that will happen.

Kobe LeBron 3 

A Kobe/LeBron showdown between these two friends is what most of us want to see but our gifted athletes have to defeat some great teams to get to the finals, so go ahead and freely and unapologetically root for the Lakers or Cavaliers.  But as always the human factor will come into play: 

Which team will remain healthy?

Which team has the mental strength to put the living fear in their opponent? 

Which team is faster, stronger and wiser?

Watch the hilarious Nike commericals below:  🙂

March 23, 2009

Basketball: Is LeBron James Leaving The Cavs?

Why is LeBron teasing us?!

james-wade-3 Sunday night in a pregame interview at the Nets’ Izod Center (Cavs 96/Nets 88) the subject of the rivalry between LeBron James and Dwyane Wade came up.  It was mentioned that they’ll never match up in an NBA Finals if one of them doesn’t switch conferences after the 2010 free agent market period.

james-wade-1  “It doesn’t matter — whatever happens, we’ll go against each other,” James replied. “Maybe we’ll go against each other in practice. That would be fine.”  What the heck does that mean??? Is LeBron saying that he and Dwyane will be in the same conference soon enough? 

Will Dwyane Wade go to Cleveland?

Will Wade and James both go to the Knicks?

james-wade This is the kind of cavalier chatter that will cause Cleveland fans to freak and Knicks fans to wish upon a star.  But in reality, why would LeBron leave the Cavs?  Everything in Cleveland is created with him in mind – in reality he IS King James of Cleveland.  If King James won’t go to the mountain, maybe the mountain will go to Cleveland.

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