LeBron James — by his own admission, and against all logic — was convinced that his Los Angeles Lakers could recreate the magic of The Heatles with the acquisition of Russell Westbrook, an aging $47 million-a-year slasher, when the team appeared to be in dire need of perimeter shooter/defenders. And, as nearly everyone but LeBron and Kobe Bryant’s former agent predicted, the trio of Anthony Davis (injured again, naturally), Westbrook and The King has not gelled, and their supporting parts, mostly just Patrick Beverley waving his hands like a lunatic and a twenty-something farmboy from Bumblefuck, Arkansas, are insufficient at best. So, when ESPN hyped a 10:30 p.m. EST exclusive sit-down interview between LeBron and reporter Dave McMenamin on Friday night’s SportsCenter, it raised a few questions: Why McMenamin and not, say, Brian Windhorst, who can actually conduct an interview? Will LeBron, who turned 38 last week, go as far as requesting a trade, as dubious rumors had suggested, even though league rules dictate he can’t be dealt before the offseason? Or is this all an elaborate troll from The Worldwide Leader in Sports™?
After a 15-minute delay, owing to a college gymnastics competition running late (?), audiences were finally treated to SportsCenter — only to have the anchors inform us that we’ve been played, and the interview with LeBron would be airing during the show’s second hour.
That was a fuckin’ lie.
ESPN didn’t air the interview until 1:07 a.m. EST, over two-and-a-half hours after its announced time. The chat began with some banal questions from McMenamin about LeBron returning to Sacramento, where he played his first NBA game, and going after the NBA’s all-time scoring record (“I’ve always been a pass-first guy,” offered LeBron), followed by a query about the current state of the Lakers, who are in the midst of a four-game winning streak and two games out of 6th in the West.
“I want to win. It’s not sitting well with me,” LeBron said of his squad’s performance this season. “I don’t like having accomplishments, and they don’t feel right, when it comes in a losing effort. I’ve been trained, and born, to win.”
McMenamin — say that five times fast — then asked LeBron what he has left to accomplish in his storied career, one that includes four NBA titles, four league MVPs, four NBA Finals MVPs, and the greatest comeback in NBA Finals history.
“I need to be on the floor with my boy. I gotta be on the floor with Bronny,” he said of his 18-year-old eldest, who will be NBA-eligible next season. “I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr.-Jr. thing. That would be ideal, for sure. Being with him, spending a full year with him in the same uniform, that would be the icing on the cake.”
And that was it, a few lame questions that we already knew the answers to. What a colossal waste of time. At least the House Speaker GOP drama was entertaining.