Everything was set to welcome the King back home. A sold out arena of over 20,000 fanatical fans, and legions more in the streets partying on.
Just before the game started, a TV commercial Lebron James had recently made showing him huddling up and pep-talking his new teammates was featured on the jumbotron in the arena. The fans went even wilder.
The Cavaliers had spiffy new uniforms and multi-colored shoes.
When James entered the arena, he was greeted with a thunderous standing ovation.
And the pre-game powder. Let's not forget the King clapping his usual liberal portion of Gold Bond, or whatever, in the air just before tip-off. The pretty girls swooned. Some ugly ones too.
Bieber, Spike Lee, and a handful of actors and rappers were on hand.
This was new Cleveland head coach David Blatt's debut. Blatt's had his travels. After going to Princeton, Blatt would wind up playing in Israel, then coaching several Israeli teams, including the Israeli national team. Along the way, he won the Israeli championship, the Israeli Cup, and was named Israeli coach of the year. Evidently a nomadic sort, Blatt went on to coaching stops in Russia, Turkey, and Greece. How all this qualifed him to be an NBA head coach is anybody's guess, but never underestimate the wisdom of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. Ahem. At any rate, making millions as an NBA head coach surely beats the heck out of going hand to hand with those pesky Hamas rascals.
And to top it all off, the Cavs were hosting the NY Knicks, who had been blistered at home just the night before by the Chicago Bulls. Throw in the newly acquired Kevin Love, a superstar in his own right, and this had all the makings of a rout. Cleveland was going to party -- dammit.
But it didn't turn out that way. Blatt's brats went splat. The supposed King would shoot 5-15 and commit 8 turnovers. In the end the Knicks -- the KNICKS -- would rain on Cleveland's parade as they unceremoniously dumped the Cavs 95-90.
In the usual post-game talkathon -- you know, where "experts" tell you again what you just watched -- the yappy little chihuahua (sometimes known as Stephen A. Smith) was once again barking away from on high, correction, make that down low, as he analyzed the game. This was important. That was important. Blah, blah, blah. But you know what? This was the first game out of 82 for the Cavs in the regular season. A week from now, much less a couple months, and nobody will remember it anyway. So they lost one. Did anybody really think they were going to go undefeated?
Which team the Bieb, glitterati and rappers were rooting for is uncertain, but a good guess would be they're trying to latch onto James' coattails in his highly ballyhooed return home for photo ops and the like. Why else would they be in Cleveland?
Spike Lee is a die-hard Knicks fan. Given their history (and Spike's films), it's somewhat of a minor miracle either or both didn't become mummified a long time ago.
So Lebron's triumphant return didn't turn out so well. It happens. But given the cast of characters that were associated with the game, methinks the TV people missed out on a golden opportunity for a mega-event.
I'm thinking a big pit of mud, or even cole slaw. With a cage around it, like the octagon in mixed martial arts. Throw in Bieber, Spike Lee, Stephen A. Smith, a couple smack-talking rappers, and let them slug it out until only one survives.
NBA basketball is okay, but THAT would attract a record audience indeed.