LeBron James Sent Packing, Time for New York?

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Which group of athletes have the most reason to be peeved this morning? A bunch of tall guys colloquially known as the “Boston Celtics.” Behind a brilliant defensive game plan and clutch three-point shooting, the Celtics forced LeBron James into his second straight sub-par performance last night, and sent the King and the Cleveland Cavs packing. Boston whipped Cleveland, NBA’s best regular season team, 94-85 in Game 6, eliminating the Cavs from the second round of the playoffs. But Boston is getting little credit for its effort, because all everyone wants to talk about is whether LeBron, a free agent on July 1, is headed to the New York Knicks.

The LeBron-to-New York speculation, fueled the by the New York media shamelessly groveling to get him to the Big Apple (this week, for example, New York magazine ran a cover story espousing the million ways New York is a superior city to Cleveland), has officially hijacked the NBA playoffs, and threatens to do so until the Finals are complete in June. James is doing fans no favors, keeping his intentions closely guarded and clearly enjoying all the endless chatter. In truth, the New York City lifestyle, and the attractive Knick salary cap space that would allow LeBron to handpick his Broadway running mates, would seem impossibly attractive to a 25-year-old multi-millionaire. You can picture him in a Knicks uniform. But if James values loyalty as much as he claims, and truly loves his home state of Ohio, he’ll try to finish what he started in Cleveland, and fulfill his promised to deliver the first pro sports championship to the tortured city since 1964.

But only one guy knows what’s in his heart, and head. And he’s no longer playing hoops this season. So for the next few weeks, can we all just watch the terrific basketball unfolding, you know, on the court. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash and Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard are pretty good players too. And let’s stop worrying about where a guy might, or might not, sign a contract?

I know, I know. We’re talking about New York here. Get real, buddy.