Sorry, Knicks Fans. LeBron *is* the King of New York
LeBron came through and crushed the buildings.
In a democracy, there are no kings.
Good thing then that sports aren’t a democracy because no term more appropriately describes a singular athlete when that athlete is responsible for the continued dismantling of an entire city’s spirit. The guy that routinely curb stomps the town that mortgaged its foreseeable future in the sport of basketball to have a chance at being his home for a mere few years. Twice.
What else do you call the potential billionaire that hops on your shitty train service and ruffles the feathers of your already miffed commuters for fun, just to pass the time until he turns your most cherished building, Madison Square Garden, into an obscene museum of his time-tested talents, during what’s supposed to be his and his team’s most vulnerable period of the season?
Sorry, Big Apple — Lebron James really is the King of New York. That is, of course, until Godzingis comes out on the winning end of one of last night’s match-ups in NYC.
Peep game: on Monday night (Nov. 13), LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks met in what was billed as one of the better early-season showdowns thus far. The game didn’t disappoint. The new-look Knicks, which shipped Carmelo Anthony and his brand of hero ball to Oklahoma City during the offseason, have exceeded expectations this season led by its new franchise player, Kristaps Porzingis.
With the dark, racially-tinged cloud of Phil Jackson vs. Carmelo Anthony lifted, the electricity this young Knicks team plays with is almost tangible. The Cavs, on the other hand, are still reeling from Kyrie Irving’s abrupt departure this summer, and look nothing like the team most basketball pundits expect will cruise to another NBA Finals berth. But, they still have LeBron James. And 14 years after he made the leap to the league straight out of high school, that still counts for a lot.
After jumping out to a 23—point lead, the Knicks began quivering in the third quarter, as LeBron’s shots began to fall. The Cavs would not be still again. The Knicks staved off the complete dissipation of its lead for as long as possible, but finally, with less than 90 seconds left and the scored tied at 97, LeBron finally exacted his will.
With possession of the ball and Porzingis guarding him, LeBron recognized his opportunity and pulled his dribble behind the three-point arc. Sizing up the 7’3 Latvian, he quickly teased a drive to the hoop, then stepped back and shot a three-pointer that seemed to soar towards the rim in slow motion before swishing through the net.
When the shot finished its journey, the Knicks were down three with just over one minute left, and all the air had been sucked out of Madison Square Garden. Those that weren’t staring at the ceiling in agony were content to merely watch James in disgust, smirking, skipping towards the Cavs bench, his body turned to the mega-rich celebrities and the 1%, who had all showed up to watch their Knicks take home a win, but instead had to watch King James take over their area code yet again.
LeBron vs. Porzingis with the game on the line.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 14, 2017
The reason that smug smirk has become legendary is largely because this isn’t the first, second or third time that LeBron has taken a King-sized dump on the Big Apple. Since his first run with the Cavs, which ended in 2010, LeBron has been applying extra wax to his Knicks ass-whoopings, delivering a 50-point, 10-rebound game in 2008, and a near-triple-double with a 52-point performance in 2009.
During that run, the Knicks mortgaged several opportunities to build a perennially successful team by jettisoning players with contracts, like Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph, that would’ve impeded their efforts to sign LeBron James if he decided to leave Cleveland. And LeBron, the New York Yankees fan who was backstage at SOBs for Drake’s first show there and posed as a member of JAY-Z’s cabinet for a rap magazine, took yet another dump on the Knicks, choosing instead to join the Heat, where he easily met his Knicks Dump quota every season for four years.
When LeBron returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Knicks had just re-signed Carmelo Anthony, and were only a year-removed from welcoming former MVP Derrick Rose and current superstar Kristaps Porzingis to their roster. Knicks basketball was supposed to be returning to a level of excitement. Except, the Knicks hired coaching legend Phil Jackson to be their president and he ran the team into the ground. (Turns out being the president of a major institution isn’t for just anybody. Who knew?) During Jackson’s tenure, LeBron humbled him over a microaggression and beat the 73-win Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals with two of the Knicks former players, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, as his teammates.
Since then, the Knicks have all but conceded their territory to the product of Akron. (Let’s never forget the full-blown #WaterBottleChallenge he hosted during a 2016 smackdown of the beleaguered team.) The player on the Knicks roster chirping the loudest at LeBron is one of its latest additions, Enes Kanter, who was humiliated during the 2017 playoffs after his coach was caught saying he needs to be benched on camera.
And Frank Ntilikina, despite this glorious strip of LeBron last night, isn’t anywhere close to rivaling the guy LeBron said the Knicks should’ve picked in this summer’s draft. The Cavs will probably finish the season with a far better record than the Knicks, despite having had Derrick Rose—who took much of the blame for the Knicks’ troubles last season—as its starting point guard from October to February.
Sorry, Knicks fans. Get mad all you want at LeBron calling himself the King of New York on Instagram. But until you snatch the crown, the world is still his.