In anticipation of LeBron James' decision as to where he will ply his trade for the next few years, shares of MSG stock rose 6 percent yesterday for a period of time before settling back to where they were earlier in the day. The reason for the brief bump? The wind had begun to blow the LeBron smoke towards New York for a few hours.
"So-and-so is reporting that sources have told his sources that LeBron is going to the Knicks!"
You want a stock tip? Invest in whatever company makes those little vomit bags (and perhaps even hijack the truck that's bringing them to Cleveland and sell the load for cash), because tonight's LeBron: The Decision has all the makings of an ego supernova the likes of which we've never seen.
Put it this way -- when Stuart Scott is on the broadcast and can't crack the top five for things that will potentially offend my senses, that's all you need to know.
Me, I have to watch tonight. It's part of my job. The rest of you don't have an excuse. You will be part of the flock of sheep unknowingly giving the "King" exactly what he wants -- attention, relevance, ultra-relevance. (Thankfully, I have said excuse of "Hey, I'm in sports...I gotta watch," so I don't have to admit that I would have watched anyway and probably will have been riveted by the event. There, I said it.)
The more we read and hear about tonight, the more it sounds like LeBron is going to join up with his Redeem Team 2008 buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to try and form some sort of New World Order of basketball (old-school wrestling fans nodding their heads). I've already expressed my thoughts on what I think this means to LeBron's legacy and what this means his pain threshold is for trying to do things the competitive way. It's stacking the deck, it's a short cut, it's the pussy's way out. Sorry, it just is.
That was my point of view ten days ago -- before LeBron decided to broadcast his decision on television in prime time. So forget what the decision itself means from a basketball and a legacy standpoint. If LeBron picks any team tonight other than the Cleveland Cavaliers -- Miami, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh Pisces, Harlem Globetrotters, whoever -- he is straight-up mean. It's that simple. Mean.
I could go on a rant calling him all sorts of four-, ten- and twelve-letter words (all applicable and, thanks to freedom of speech and the internet as a forum, do-able). Expletives are products of emotion, but when you calm down and analyze it, in the end it just boils down to one thing -- if LeBron creates a one-hour special to tell the world he's leaving Cleveland, he is a mean person. A bad person.
If he ends up staying in Cleveland, then the television special merely renders LeBron an egomaniac -- a big kid, blessed with ungodly genetics, who would go back for a fifteenth plate if there were such thing as an all-you-can-eat buffet for adulation and misguided hero worship. I can almost live with that.
But if he ends up spurning Cleveland in front of a national TV audience, LeBron is at a bare minimum the least self-aware person to ever walk the face of the earth. More likely, if he does leave, LeBron knows exactly what he's doing but in the basketball game that is King James' conscience, ego and hubris are pounding humility and dignity by 50 at the half. I'll let LeBron decide whether or not the final chapter of my rant gets written or not; the world will know in a few short hours.
In the meantime, I've left him an open space atop this list of all-time backstabbings. Ask yourself if you want it, LeBron....
5. ANAKIN SKYWALKER
In Episode One of the Star Wars saga, Qui Gon Jinn and Obi Wan Kenobi (who admittedly sound more like co-owners of a sushi bar than defenders of the galaxy) rescued young Anakin from slavery on a planet that had an average temperature of 123 degrees Farenheit at night, and then proceeded to train him to harness his mental and physical genetic gifts in such a way that he would become a force more powerful than 1,000 LeBron's! How did he thank them? Here's how...
That's right, he turned to the dark side of the Force and became a Sith Lord, a heel turn that ultimately resulted in Anakin Force-choking people when they accidentally grabbed his shit out of the Death Star's kitchen fridge, and with him destroying planets in one fell swoop for sport. Major galactic ramifications, to say the least.
And we forget the reason Anakin ultimately took up for the Emperor and converted was because the Emperor supposedly had special powers that would save Anakin's baby momma, Padme. So basically the galaxy became a cesspool of death and oppression over a piece of ass. (I've been to Cleveland and I've been to South Beach; I'm not sayin' that LeBron's decision would be partially based on the respective "talent" levels of both places, I'm just sayin'.)
4. RICK FROM LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN
If you haven't seen Last American Virgin, I'll boil the plot down to one paragraph for you -- dorky high school pizza delivery boy (Gary) falls in love with new chick in town (Karen) who ends up dating and getting knocked up by his best friend (Rick). Rick treats Karen like a douchebag after finding out she's preggers with his kid, Gary swoops in and pays for Karen's abortion and lets her recover in his dead grandmother's vacant (yet still fully furnished!) home for a few days.
Gary, after cementing his title of the Anti-baby Daddy (he actually pays for abortions for chicks!) assumes that footing the bill for un-impregnating a girl means that he and Karen are now boyfriend/girlfriend, shows up at a party with jewelry for her, and then....well, the video says it all....
Padme. Karen. Yeah, in the game of life, it's undefeated and untied, boys.
3. HULK HOGAN
By 1996, Hulk Hogan had been on the business end (i.e. the wrong side) of so many heel turns, that he apparently got fed up and decided it was time for him to inflict the damage. I mean, for a guy who was the hero for little feathered-hair kids of the `80s, our hero sure was stupid. I mean, in a matter of just three years, Hulk got duped by Paul Orndorff....
...Andre the Giant....
....and Randy Savage (another spat over a chick)....
...so finally 1996 rolled around, and Hogan decided he'd had enough of his peeps. Go ahead and watch this video -- Randy Savage as the city of Cleveland, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall as Wade and Bosh, Hogan as LeBron. No one-hour ESPN special, just a big leg drop, bitches...
2. ROBERT IRSAY
Cleveland already knows what it's like to be stabbed in the back by a sports owner with Art Modell leaving C-town in the mid-`90s to move to Baltimore (everyone in Houston pounds their fist to the chest and points at Cleveland; Bud Adams is our Art Modell), but Baltimore never would have been available to Traitor Art if Modell 1.0, also known as Robert Irsay, hadn't literally packed up the Colts in the middle of a snowy night in 1984 to move to Indianapolis.
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And yet, as douchy and small as it is to pack up a bunch of Mayflower vans in the middle of the night and skulk off to Indy, can you imagine if Robert Irsay had a one-hour special on ESPN to gleefully announce his move to the Midwest and then spend 45 minutes telling Jim Gray, Michael Wilbon, and Stuey Scott why Indianapolis beats the shit out of Baltimore?
1. (Space RESERVED for LEBRON RAYMONE JAMES, Miami Heat)
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.