Before the Cleveland Cavaliers opener against the New York Knicks, LeBron James said, with a straight face, that Thursday night’s game was “probably one of the biggest sporting events that’s up there ever.” Please, can we get this quote on NFL Countdown’s next segment of “C’mon Man”? What I think Bron Bron meant to say is that Thursday’s game would be the most predictable sporting event ever.
I’m no LeBron James hater. I’m a basketball enthusiast who knows that James is the best physical specimen to ever step on a court. I’m also a Bulls fan who knows that LeBron is the second best player ever, after MJ. The difference between the two is all mental. I mean, really, tonight was just so vintage LeBron. The entire offseason was a giant PR move. Promoting his brand, coming home as The Savior, doing things the “right” way (as opposed to 2010 with The Decision). It all led up to tonight. It’s pretty evident that James watched his new Nike commercial a few too many times before tipoff. You know, this ridiculously theatrical, emotional, over-the-top spot:
It’s a very well done, exceptional 2 minutes. It’s also too much. But I’m confident in my belief that this commercial accurately depicts what James’ camp thinks. His people came up with that spot. For them, every soul in Cleveland revolves around Bron Bron. He’s such an inspiration.
So of course he would think that this is “the biggest sporting event up there ever.” Well, it’s not. It might have been one of the biggest games in Cleveland history, and I hope that’s what he meant. Either way, as soon as I read that quote I knew I was betting on the Knicks to win straight up. The Cavs are going to be really, really good, but learning how to play together at the start of the year will be difficult enough, they certainly don’t need all the pressure of a “biggest sporting event ever.”
Tonight, they ran into a Knicks team with a great player and something to prove after getting thwacked by Chicago. A team looking to get on track coming into Cleveland for LeBron’s big game back. The pressure of the night might have been too much for James and the Cavs, even if he won’t admit it. Or, LeBron was just feeling out his new squad, trying to get everyone else involved and learning on the fly. I think it was a little bit of both. That’s nothing to be ashamed off, but some of that pressure could have been avoided.