Cleveland's LeBron James

Cleveland's LeBron James Credit: AP

A night before Larry King's trumpeted "exclusive" interview with LeBron James, ABC's Nightline did its best to trump King by airing a jovial sit-down between Chris Cuomo and LeBron that was shot earlier in the playoffs, well before the Celtics collapse.

Neither interview revealed anything new in James' plans for free agency, but while King specifically mentioned the Clippers yet he curiously avoided talking at all about the Knicks -- it's only been two years of stories about their plans to target him as a free agent -- Cuomo, born in Queens and a resident of Manhattan (and raised in a family that loved basketball, as evidenced by the creation of Midnight Basketball program in the 1990s by his father, Gov. Mario Cuomo), went right at the obvious. He pulled a Knicks hat out and showed it to James and asked him what it means to him.

"This is greatness," James replied.

Cuomo went just a tad over-the-top when he labled the Knicks as "the most storied franchise" (especially with the Lakers-Celtics matchup in the Finals), but he did get James to at least offer his thoughts about the franchise that is the most desperate to get him.

"Unbelievable franchise," James said. "Great history. And not only from a basketball perspective, but just from Madison Square Garden, itself. All the artists that have come through there. Everything."

LeBron then notes that the hat is a bit small. Cuomo tells him to keep it, maybe give it to one of his sons.

"It's a big decision," Cuomo then said, "And I don't want to see you go the wrong way."

 What does it mean? Nothing. LeBron has several times expressed his affinity for Madison Square Garden. It's also typical of him to be respectful toward any team.

Just add it to the pile of quotes to be regurgitated in the meanwhile until July 1, when the wining and dining can officially begin.


Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months