(and yes, I know its just going to keep happening)
Right now, we’re witnessing one of most remarkable seasons that a NBA player has ever had (and, to quote Mike Brown, “he’s frickin’ 23!”). LeBron is averaging 30-8-8 and he’s bringing it every night. He’s becoming a dominant force on defense (anyone who says Kobe is significantly better defensively hasn’t been watching LeBron this year) and he’s become unstoppable on the offensive end.
This kid has a chance to be the best basketball player of his generation and he has a really good chance to put himself in the all time discussion. And he players for the Cleveland freaking Cavaliers. Obviously, if he leaves the Cavaliers, it will suck.
But if he does leave, it will be in two seasons. Not this year. Not next offseason. 2010. At the very least, they have three more playoff runs. So, I dunno about you, but I’m gonna try to enjoy it while I can. I’m gonna watch every game possible, I’m gonna write about it and I’m going to read anything I can get my eyeballs on.
It’s that last one that gets me. Any type of national analysis of the Cavaliers is filtered through the “LeBron is leaving” lens. Every time someone interviews Brian Windhorst or Danny Ferry, the “is LeBron leaving” question always pops up. LeBron waits a day (a day!) to sign his extension and Bill Simmons basically shits his pants.
I haven’t seen this for any other player, for any other franchise (and by the way, who do you think needs a big market more, LeBron ‘third man ever to appear on the cover of Vogue’ James or Chris ‘having the best season for a point guard ever’ Paul?) in any other sport. Is there another player that gets this type of treatment (when he’s in the first year of his new contract!). Meanwhile, I’m trying to follow the career of possibly the best basketball player of the 21st century and I keep getting sidetracked by all the speculation of where he might go.
Look, maybe he leaves, maybe he doesn’t (and if he does bolt, it will be for basketball reasons, not location). Right now, on March 22, 2008, I don’t care. In 2010, I’ll care. But three offseasons away? Nope.
And even then, should I worry?
James on whether he has ever thought about playing for the Knicks: ”No, that might be worse than that fan running out on the court.” James on whether he’s ever thought of leaving the Cavs: ”You don’t think about it. I am in a great situation. I am home, my family gets to see me play, the organization has been nothing but great to me. I have no reason to think about going anywhere else at this point.”