Last night, as the Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Miami Heat, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade faced off for the last time (Wade is retiring at the end of this season).
The Lakers won by 3, but the only thing that people are talking about is the postgame conversation that took place between the future Hall of Famers.
As NBA Twitter legend Rob “Wob” Perez (@WorldWideWob) describes it, LeBron tells Wade that there were only two places where this final matchup could’ve taken place: “here (Staples Center)” or “the Garden.”
All I’m saying is LeBron never specified which Garden he meant. He could’ve meant the TD Garden, a Miami-based Olive Garden, or the garden by the vineyard he gets his wine from (SHEESH!)
All kidding aside, I initially perceived this as LeBron talking about a venue that was special enough to host the last game between two generational players like Wade and himself, and the Staples Center and MSG are probably the two best venues in the sport.
As a Celtics fan, I understand the history behind Madison Square Garden. It’s a special place, it has hosted many historic events, and the best of the best (especially in the NBA) tend to have next-level performances there. Heck, I’m going to a game there next month, and it’s going to be my first time in a non-Boston sports venue. I respect it… but lets play with the “LeBron was almost a Knick” theory a bit.
As we know, when LeBron (and Wade) first hit free agency in 2010, the Knicks were in prime position to land a star. People tied LeBron to New York as early as 2008, and they were perceived as a logical destination for Bron, were he to leave Cleveland. Even in the weeks following LeBron’s loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the 2010 NBA playoffs, New York seemed more possible than Miami; Wade was even connected to the Big Apple for a bit that offseason.
But I’m sorry Knicks fans, as the story goes, things would not go your way.
Fast forward to 2016, and when Wade was a free agent, and a breakup with Miami became more and more of a reality, the Knicks were briefly seen as a possibility… until they weren’t.
LeBron was a free agent this offseason, and it was a story posted by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer in June of 2017 that first put it out there that LeBron could go to LA. New York hadn’t been considered a serious option, but with the Knicks being a historic NBA franchise, the possibility (however slim it was) existed.
However, from my recollection, the Knicks were not looking to go big last offseason. Obviously that changes if you have any indication LeBron is seriously interested, but there was ZERO word of that leading up to his decision. Knicks president Steve Mills said the plan was to stand pat and create financial flexibility for 2019 (Irving, KD, you know the drill).
I mean we heard LeBron tied to Golden State at one point. Don’t you think we would have heard about the Knicks somewhere along the way, even if it was easily disputable? That’s why I think Knicks fans shouldn’t be too worked up, because I don’t think it was ever happening… I hope that helps, Wob.
Now if KD leaves the Warriors next offseason, and in his first home game against Steph, he says “it was either here or the Garden,” but “here” was Philly or something, yeah, I’d be pissed as a Knicks fan, because that means the Dolan clown show genuinely messed up.
But this? It’s not worth the time. Don’t kill yourself over it, Knicks fans.
Follow Nick on Twitter (@Nick_Collins14)