Sunday, April 11, 2010

This is just...sad

The LeBron James free agency media circus became approximately 17% more annoying thanks to Frank Isola, who pens a column called “Knicks Knation” for the New York Daily News. In an odd case of what can only be deemed as sportswriter penis envy, Isola calls out by name Plain Dealer Cavs’ beat reporter Brian Windhorst, who wrote a piece about the “stay-in-Cleveland” buzz now apparently permeating from LeBron’s camp.

Frankly, Windhorst’s supposition is vague (which he freely admits), and doesn’t offer much in the way of new information. Criticizing Windhorst for publishing such non-news would be within journalistic boundaries of integrity, but the second half of Isola’s piddling and awkwardly constructed rebuttal reads just a hair short of well, weird:


Are the Knicks out of the LeBron James’ sweepstakes before the playoffs even start, much less the free agent recruiting period?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the “vibe” being sent out from James’ camp “whether it is private conversations or discussions about new business or plans for the near future - is that James currently is leaning strongly toward re-signing with the Cavs.”

The vibe? Is Don Cornelius now part of James’ camp?

The report also states: “That may sound vague and, as always, it continues to be fragile. Yet there is no denying the gradual shift within James' circle and, it is assumed, by James himself.

James has declined to talk publicly about free agency since November. But as one source said, “I have never been so sure that he's going to stay in Cleveland than I am right now.”

First things first. The writer of the article, Brian Windhorst, has now known LeBron since the self proclaimed King was a high school sensation in Akron. (Brian thinks of himself as a sensation as well.)

I've got Jerome James on my speed dial and Windhorst has LeBron. Okay, so life isn't fair. I also know that Brian has his resume sitting in the sports office of every New York newspaper and is ready to pounce on one of our jobs should LeBron sign with the Knicks.

I sometimes think that Brian wants to come to New York more than LeBron. He’s a huge “Sopranos” fan and fancies himself as LeBron's underboss.

I'm guessing it absolutely killed Brian to write that LeBron is leaning toward staying. It must be true because Brian desperately wants to get out of Ohio and is essentially the best thing the Knicks have going for them: a spy on the inside working on their behalf.

But it appears that LeBron’s next move will be to re-sign with Cleveland for the next three years. As for Brian, it essentially means the parole board has rejected his early release from Cleveland. Three more years for you as well, buddy.


I suppose I can give Isola marks for originality, as I’ve never seen a sportswriter criticize a guy from another market in such a pointed manner. The fact that he comes off as a junior high school girl pathetically squabbling with a more popular rival over who has the best Robert Pattinson fan-page should not detract from the novelty of his jealous attack.

Still, to say I’m tired of the various permutations of East Coast entitlement journalism is an understatement. In recent weeks we were treated to another photoshopped shot of LeBron in a Knicks uniform thanks to the launch of ESPN's New York-centric website. The playoffs, instead of quelling this incessant speculation, will likely only magnify it. As fans, we must brace ourselves for the continued media onslaught, while at the same time enjoying the heart-attack inducing fun of the most important post-season in Cavs’ history.

My dream scenario is a championship (of course) followed by LeBron revealing at the parade his intent to re-sign with Cleveland. I’m not a petty person by nature, but LeBron staying here would be a glorious, neon-lit "Eff You" to the Isolas of the world who arrogantly dismiss the city I love. The first step toward that hoped for announcement begins in one short week.