Admittedly, I'm not the world's biggest or most loyal Knicks fan, but it's also not my fault that over the past decade-plus, Isiah Thomas and the Dolans treated me and all Knicks supporters like Stephon Marbury does interns in pickup trucks. It's been a dark, desolate period of salary-cap incompetence, unfathomably bad management at all levels, and Eddy Curry donut runs since Spree took us to the Finals in 1999.
But these past two years, under Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni, have provided the first glimmer of hope in ages. I was a fan of the decision to more or less forfeit two seasons in order to open up cap space to afford premium free agents in the 2010 offseason. Basically, they were willing to lose a lot if it meant getting LeBron James.
Everything was going according to plan.
Until now, I guess, as it appears "sources" are "indicating" LeBron is gonna choose Miami. In which case, adios, asshole, have fun in South Beach with Dwyane and Chris as you add your contribution to the NBA's return to being completely uninteresting.
Really, who's gonna want to watch those three just stampede over everyone else? The only way it'll be watchable is if they somehow fuck it all up and don't win like 75 games every year and go undefeated through the playoffs and win five straight championships.
Of course, there will be one group of happy people: Heat fans. Everyone else, though, will either quickly learn to hate the Heat or simply turn their attention elsewhere. It's kind of like those offseasons where the yankees go out and buy everyone who's good -- sure, it makes yankee fans happy, but everyone else's reactions range from "FuCk teh stineBrennerz!" to "Whatever, same shit, different year, when's football back?"
[Excuse me for a moment, as I go off on a bit of a tangent...
But that's pretty much where the yankee comparison ends. The NBA season is quite a different creature from the baseball season. In baseball, even a team like the yankees -- with their non-salary-capped $200 million-plus payroll, with their All-Stars at just about every position, with their infield that makes more money than several entire teams -- still can only win about 60% of their games. Right now, their best-in-baseball record is 53-31, a .631 winning percentage. Winning 100 games in a season -- which very rarely happens -- only equates to winning about 62% percent of the time. So for much of the regular season, and certainly on a game-by-game basis, there is at least some drama, some degree of suspense as Mariano comes in to close out a 2-run game. And that's even when the yankees play the Royals, who, due to the nature of baseball, will still beat the yankees about 30% of the time or more, no matter the disparity in salary or talent.
However, in basketball, the best teams routinely win over 60 out of 82 games a year. Last season, the Cavs had the league's best record at 61-21, meaning they won about 75% of the time -- and that isn't even all that remarkable for an NBA team.
By comparison, the very best record in all of baseball history is 116-36, by the 1906 Chicago Cubs. Know what that percentage comes out to? 75%.
The '96 Bulls, who own the NBA's best record ever, went 72-10 (.878 winning pct.); they were 41 and fucking 3 at one point that year, before (presumably) taking it easy the rest of the way. Point is, if LeBron goes to Miami to join those other two -- after all the drama and nonsense and bullshit hour-long ESPN "decision specials" whose proceeds "go to charity" that we've been subjected to the past two years as he approached free agency -- anything less than a full-on attempt to match and/or exceed what the Jordan-era Bulls accomplished (both regular-season-wise and in total championships) will be a big letdown.
Now back to what we were talking about...]
And hey, I don't blame LeBron for much of this. Sure, it's nauseatingly egotistical. Sure, it's greedy. But hey, he's put in his time (and in fucking Cleveland, too, let's not forget), he's earned the right to make his demands and then take however much time he wants to decide.
The way it stands now, I tend to agree with this guy, whose tweet I put at the top.
Loyalty, wherever it fits in the world of free-agency-oriented, multi-billion-dollar professional sports, is worth something, sure. And maybe he really loves Ohio. And maybe I'm a Chinese jet pilot. Whatever, I've long thought he was gonna end up staying there. And if he does, who's really gonna be surprised? The worst consequence for LeBron is that people will accuse him of stringing his oldest fans along for all this time. That, and he'll still be in Ohio.
However, if he comes to New York, he has the opportunity to achieve something towering. Winning a championship here would be the grandest coronation someone whose nickname is King anyway could imagine. I bet he would shoot right past Jeter-level adulation and enter the Mantle Zone. With a premiere player like Amar'e (why the dick is there an apostrophe there?) here already and more cap space opening next summer (cough -- Carmelo -- cough), he could do a lot worse. Like, say, Ohio.
But Miami? As I described above, the expectations are prohibitively high already and besides, it'll look weak, like he took the easy way out. And I'm sure we'll hear all about how he and the other two already-super-rich guys agreed to take less money to make it happen. Spare me. LeBron James, NBA player, earns a pittance compared to LeBron™.
So it pretty much comes to this: Stay in Cleveland, and this whole saga, while anticlimactic, is at least over and your people will still love you. Or you can come to New York and be loved and give us championships and make the Knicks a real-life basketball team again. Or else, go have fun in Florida while no cares as you fail chasing Jordan like a junkie chases the dragon, you greedy fucker.