My fiance provided me with all I needed to know. Really, she did because LeBron appeals to both men and women you know.
It was 6 p.m. Wednesday night and I was having dinner with some friends. We couldn't have been sitting down but 20 minutes when I noticed myself casually glancing around the big screen TV in a crowded restaurant. Actually, I glanced a total of four times before she sat down and each time I somehow managed to catch a glimpse of LeBron on ESPN.
The volume was turned down so I couldn't actually hear what breaking news was being reported, but I knew something had to be going down in the world of LeBron. When Paige sat down, she told me the news: LeBron was ruled eligible and would be playing this weekend at the Prime Time Shootout. She relayed that he had been suspended and would have to sit out one more game – school's choice of course – this season.
Wow, so in a matter of days, my mother managed to ask me about LeBron, my fiancé' caught me up on the latest scoop and ESPN seemed to be all LeBron, all day, all night. Before I went to bed that night, I of course got my LeBron fix on via ESPN again.
So, here I sit in an almost empty Dunn Center gymnasium. The Prime Time Shootout doesn't start for an hour and a half and I'm obviously quite early and possibly a little bored (you might be too if you've managed to read this far).
At 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning, I left my house for the Raleigh-Durham Airport. At six o'clock I sat down in an airport restaurant and had some breakfast. Lucky me, I was able to catch a little more Sportscenter with you know who in the headlines.
It's a little after 6 a.m. and I'm getting an old fashioned shoe shine; a therapeutic foot massage is basically what it really is. Anyway, before it's my turn, the guy who runs the shoe shine stand is talking with a client about you know who. When it's my turn, I'm determined not to get into a conversation about King James. But, when the guy asked me who won the Louisville game last night, somehow LeBron's name just came up.
It's almost 7:00 a.m. now and I need some reading material for my flight. The Raleigh News and Observer had its customary LeBron sighting and wouldn't you know he managed to find his way onto the front page of my USA Today. Amazing. I can run but I can't hide.
So here I am in Philadelphia and it's just about 9 a.m. I get in my car and head south to spend a few hours with my father at his office in Wilmington, Del. Good old Dad, you can always count on him to keep it real right? "So, you excited about seeing LeBron this weekend," dad said. Great to see you too, pop.
Over the next few hours, my dad introduced me to a few co-workers. It was something like this: "Meet my son Dave. He's going to see LeBron this weekend." And of course the customary mini-chat about LeBron and his trials and tribulations entered the picture. It had been probably 5 years since I've seen one of my dad's co-workers and it took less than 30 seconds to get into a LeBron chat with him. By the way LeBron, nobody in America believes you believe that the throwback gear was a gift for good grades.
Do you get a Hummer for good grades and getting 50 points in a game? Never mind, back to my day.
I almost forgot. My dad and I go to lunch. We hit up a sports bar and yes, ESPN is rolling in the background. Yes, LeBron's on again only this time; there are two TV sets next to each other set on different channels. Now LeBron has managed to get on ESPN and the local Comcast Sportsnet at the same time.
OK, it's time to drive from Philly to Elizabeth, N.J. for some hoops.
Apparently a member of the 76ers management – I think Billy King – had it out with one of the local Philly talk show hosts this morning and the franchise is in the tubes so I was spared LeBron chatter by the major Philly sports talk station.
Once the 610 WIP signal fades out, I switch over to the boys from NYC. Again, another pro franchise in the dumps and half an hour of Knicks talk about the salary cap problems keeps me LeBron free. I'm rolling now.
I get to Jersey and there's a problem. I get to the gym at 2:30 p.m., a full two hours before the first game of the event is to start. A security guard lets me into the gym and out of the kindness of her heart, gives me a chair to sit down on. Remember, I'm early and they hadn't rolled out the bleachers yet.
About 20 feet away from me a gentleman is on his cell phone. He's yapping away and going on and on about America's favorite high school basketball player. I mean he knows everything. "Yeah, he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated last year. He's so good because he can do those things …" And on and on.
All LeBron, all the time.