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King Without a Crown

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Shame on you.

You need a kid from Kalamazoo to teach you New York decorum. “You don’t have to sell winning in New York,” said the shortstop of the New York Yankees about courting a coveted basketball player.

Say what you like about Derek Jeter’s scripted bromides and lack of locker room emotion, but he gets it.

Why don’t you?

This may be hard for you to swallow, but the Knicks are losers, last winning a title in 1973, the year I turned four. You regurgitate the Patrick Ewing nostalgia, arguing that he deserved a title. If Ewing deserved one, he would have earned one. John Starks be damned, the best player on the planet would have seized that series against Houston. Ewing wasn’t, and he didn’t.

Forget the sheen of Madison Avenue, the limitless photo ops and buckets of advertising cash. Madison Avenue is not Madison Square Garden, home of putrid basketball for decades. New Yorkers don’t buy “almost” as an adequate replacement for “job done.”

Why do folks love and loathe the Yankees? Because they win –a result that evokes barbarism. There is no soft thought on the Bronx Bombers. They are Gordon Gekko in pinstripes. And they don’t apologize.

Yet LDS has consumed our beloved town. LeBron Derangement Syndrome. Mike Bloomberg is courting King James to our court. The clock ticks since July 1 like a form of sporting Armageddon.

Indeed, one of his monikers (LBJ) smacks of a one-term president who quit before his job was finished. That’s precisely what James has done in Cleveland.

Bill Parcells famously said you are what your record says you are. If he’s right, then LeBron James is a talented player with no championships. He had seven years in Cleveland, often leading them to the NBA’s best record, and flopped.

That doesn’t mean Donnie Walsh shouldn’t want him. It means you, the New Yorker, need to kneel before a different God. There’s nothing in LeBron’s history to suggest that he will parachute into MSG and bring the bling.

The Garden is a carcass of rancid athletics. Karma is, well, you know. It is not a coincidence that when New York City stopped being New York City the Garden crumbled. Disney bought Manhattan and the Knicks have become a cartoon since.

What exactly do you want from James? He spent sublime years in Cleveland filled with personal and promotional glory, all of which ended with a loss. In a sense that’s what the Knicks deserve. They deserve the Chosen One who chose to tank a playoff game against Boston.

Forget the fact that Cleveland can pay him $30 million more, or that he’d leave a 65-win team for a 35-win team, or that he’s from Ohio, or that he has unfinished business. Name one transcendent player other than Shaq who left the home team for a road discount? Take your time No, Amar’e doesn’t qualify. Microfracture surgery is a quick sunset for an athlete. Stoudemire is on borrowed time, his brittle knees ready to snap whenever the deity deigns.

You beg a man with no rings to join our city when he should beg us to bless him. This has become misguided celebrity worship of the highest order. You’ve become a walking billboard of low expectations.

The Knicks are losers, but New Yorkers are not. And begging is for losers. Stop it. Begging is more than stupid; it’s undignified, and it speaks to softness. None of these characteristics belong to New Yorkers. James comes to us. We don’t come to him.

While you drool over the ad hoc videos, the shameless and shameful plugs for the city that never sleeps, it is quite possible that he’s laughing at you. Lord knows, everyone else is.

What has Michael Jordan taught us? To Jordan, every loss was a form of death, fuel to kill the next time. Yes, he, like LeBron spent his first seven seasons without a title. Then he went on a winning rampage. Do you get any of that sense in LeBron James? Do you honestly believe he will win a title next year (no matter where he signs)? It feels like his MVP hardware is as important to him as a Larry O’Brien Trophy.

You call like cattle for LeBron, crouched over and grazing on vast pastures of promise and delusion – that somehow the man will win by dint of his new uniform. Past is often prologue, and the name on his back won’t necessarily change the fate of the front.

The Chosen One. Doesn’t that sobriquet belong to Bill Russell or John Wooden? Men of accomplishment. Perhaps the real problem is you haven’t defined accomplishment. Andre Agassi told us image is everything while he glued fake hair to his dome and smoked crystal meth.

Of course LeBron James makes the Knicks better. Just stop the deification that smells of defecation. You’re better than that. You deserve him, the Knicks don’t. Perhaps someday you’ll get the distinction.

Feel free to email me: Jakster1@mac.com

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