So as we know the greediest, selfish most arrogant bunch of ****** are ensuring that for the time being there is nothing close to basketball going on, so I thought it would be fun to go back to 2003 when the Cavaliers won the ‘LeBron Stakes’, winning the no.1 pick in the lottery.
Shortly after Cleveland won it’s first lottery, owner Gordon Gund fronted the media to answer the obvious questions that now held context. Who were they going to take with the pick?
“We don’t know who we are going to pick”
Of course as he said this, he lifted a jersey with the name James and the no.23 on it, receiving a room full of laughter from all present. It was what everyone had expected, but was still an enjoyable way of making it clear. What a shame the new owner isn’t quite as likeable.
”Thank God we got him. This is a great day for them and for all of that market, for Akron, for Cleveland, all of northeastern Ohio. I’m tremendously excited about it. It’s a big day in Cleveland sports.”
Gund called it the biggest day in the history of Cleveland sports, and it surely was, at least for the past 50 or so title-less years. LeBron James was equally as happy.
“I’m staying in Cleveland, and I’m real excited.
“I’m not going to guarantee a championship, but I will guarantee we’ll get better every day. We’re going to be a lot better than we were last year.”
Cavaliers General Manager Jim Paxson was predictably ecstatic when it was revealed they had won the rights to the high school phenom.
“I just couldn’t believe it when it came up Memphis and knew we had the No. 1 pick.
I think he’s a very versatile player and has the ballhandling ability to be a point guard”.
Paxson was right, since he was drafted James has often been compared to a man who is arguably the greatest point guard of all time, Magic Johnson.
Jerry West, who at the time was the President of Basket Operations at the Memphis Grizzlies, too understood how great this moment was for both the Cavaliers and James, despite showing his obvious disappointment in missing out.
“It would have been like Christmas. But it’s like Christmas and Thanksgiving for them.”
So the time came.
June 26, 2003.
The Theatre at Madison Square Garden.
Stern walked to the podium with that slimy grin on his face and spoke the words Cleveland had been waiting for, for a very long time.
“With the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select LeBron James, St Vincent St Mary’s High School”.
It’s pretty frightening to see a 15, 16, 17 year old kid that flies through the air with that much ease. I was in high school just a couple of years ago and if I had seen anyone do anything close to that I would have ran for my life.
Michelle Tafoya tells LeBron he will best the most scrutinised rookie in the history of the NBA, what she left out was that he would be the most scrutinised player in the history of the NBA.
You see in that first interview he does that he hasn’t changed a whole lot. He is always talking about the team, always talking about getting better every day, helping his teammates get better, and deferring praise on him to his team and respect to his competitors.
So he came into the league as the most media saturated player we had seen, and that still emanates today. No.23, now No.6, there is now doubt the league has been changed as a result of LeBron James entering it.
It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that ESPN was showing those high schools games with a somewhat skinny 6’8 kid who could fly like Mike but throw the rock around like Magic.
Who could have predicted the next 8 years? Who could have predicted the last 12 months?
One thing that has not changed is the world’s fascination with this once in a lifetime athlete.