Abate the hate for N.Y. in LeBron chase

To: NBA America
From: Rob Parker
Re: LeBron James

Stop hating.

It's been more than a week since LeBron James, arguably the biggest free agent in the history of professional sports, was prematurely bounced from the NBA playoffs.

Instead of a possible championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James has a big decision. He can stay there, with his championship-less hometown team, or grab for greener pastures with another franchise that has the available loot to pay him.

From the minute the season was over for James, the talk has been about every franchise -- except the New York Knicks.

Chicago, Miami and even L.A.'s step child, the Clippers, have been all the talk by media outlets, fans and message boards.

The Knicks?

Nope. It's like the team playing in the biggest city in this country doesn't figure in. Worse, as if it doesn't even matter.

That's pure hate.

Now the Knicks know what the New York Yankees go through all the time. Not only do jealous fans from around the country root for them to lose on the field, but they also root against them when it comes time to try to improve their product within the rules of the game.

Hello! The Knicks didn't invent free agency. It's dumb to be mad at Knicks management for developing a plan in an attempt to bring aboard a super talent and give fans a chance to taste a championship.

It's not as if the Knicks don't have the money to pay King James.

In fact, the Knicks have the most money available to sign free agents this summer. So much so, they could sign two top-notch ballers to help rebuild a team that has been a laughingstock for more than a decade.

And it's not as if New York wouldn't deliver a stage for James. The Garden is equal to Broadway. Sure, they perform shows all over the country, but people don't fly in from all over the world to see them. That only happens in NYC.

Those who talk about the world being a global market and that you don't need New York aren't being quite honest. The movers and shakers, the big-time decision makers, the shot callers all call the Big Apple their home office.

You can't meet those people in Cleveland. Eventually, you have to come to New York to meet those people to make things happen. It's not big-city hype, it's just the way it is.

Instead, most of the talk has been about the Bulls.

Yeah, that's a great plan. LeBron should go to Chicago and play in Michael Jordan's shadow. When James wins his first championship, fans will say Jordan won six. When James wins his second title in a row, reporters will say Jordan won three in a row -- twice.

And the Bulls' roster isn't as great as most make it out to be. Even with the addition of James, it isn't a lock that Chicago would be a championship contender.

The New Jersey Nets -- with the second-most cap space available -- have been blown off as well. After all, they play in New Jersey. It might as well be Siberia, according to some.

More hate.

Hate to break it to you, but Newark is just nine miles from Manhattan.

They also want to discount the Nets' pending move to Brooklyn, which is in New York.

For all you Bulls lovers, Brooklyn has almost as many people in its borough as does the city of Chicago -- at last count, the third-largest city in the country.

You get the sense all the anti-New York talk is simply the masses hoping against hope that James doesn't make the smart choice.

They would take James in any other uniform rather than one that reads New York or Brooklyn across the front.

Where the hate comes from doesn't make sense. It's not as if the Knicks have grabbed all the free agents over the years and have won countless titles. Reporters were using typewriters, not computers, the last time the Knicks won a championship. It was 1973 for you historians.

And the Nets have never won a title in the NBA.

Yet those jealous fans and twisted media members don't want to see one of the best players in the league play in the best city.

It makes no sense -- like most of the talk discounting the power of the greatest city in the world.

Stop hating. Now.

Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.

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