LeBron decision has Nike camp players on edge

NBA free agent LeBron James, foreground, drives away

NBA free agent LeBron James, foreground, drives away with Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Damon Jones after a workout at the LeBron James Skills Academy for high school and college basketball players. (July 7, 2010) (Credit: AP )

AKRON, Ohio - The end is in sight, but all of the folks around LeBron James' Nike camp were just as curious as the rest of the world as to where James will be playing basketball next season.

"I just want my palms to stop sweating," said Jamario Moon, James' Cavs teammate, as he entered the James Rhodes Arena at the University of Akron to work out with James and several other Cavs players, including North Babylon's Danny Green.

James' Skills Academy finished up here in his hometown yesterday, with word out about James' ESPN live broadcast of his decision Thursday night. LeBron arrived just before 10 a.m., driving a white Range Rover and sporting his usual Yankees cap.

He signed several items while watching the high-school players go through drills, stopping to jump in with some of the players to demonstrate a drill that former St. John's coach Fran Fraschilla was instructing.

James then disappeared inside the arena for several hours, apparently to film an interview for his website, lebronjames.com.

James also was filming segments for the web site interview around Akron Wednesday afternoon.

New Cavs coach Byron Scott showed up to watch James and the Cavs players work out and made a lip-zipping motion when approached by reporters as he left Rhodes Arena.

"You know I can't talk right now," said Scott, who did not talk to James during the 45 minutes he watched the workout. Asked if he were still hopeful, Scott said, "I'm always hopeful."

The high-school players were excited to meet James and just as intrigued as everyone else.

"I mean, I'm focused on what I have to do here, but I understand the whole world's freaking out about this," said rising senior guard Myck Kabongo, a Toronto resident who attends St. Benedict's in Newark, N.J.

"He's been planning this for four years. He wants it to be something special."

Moon, who has been at the camp since it opened Monday, said he hasn't made any recruiting pitches as the hours dwindle down and it seems that James has his mind made up.

"I know the state of Ohio wants him to stay," Moon said. "We had a great year here and I think we can win with the guys we have."

Green saw all the media hovered around James' Range Rover and laughed. "It's definitely a circus around here," he said.

The circus dissipated around 3:30 p.m., when James emerged from the arena, got into his car with former teammate Damon Jones, who is currently not on an NBA roster, and sped off. About two dozen well-wishers joined the crowd of two dozen reporters who watched as James left without saying a word.

He's saving that for Thursday night.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

NBA video

Vote

Grade Phil Jackson's offseason moves so far:

A B C D F

advertisement | advertise on newsday