America’s hoopin’ hypee stat-packed with 34 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in Thursday night’s Jordan Brand Capital Classic here at the MCI Center.
But it wasn’t enough for the King of this year’s mythical national champs from St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio, as James’ black team lost to the silver squad 107-102.
“Awwww,” LeBron said in the post-game press conference. “You gonna put that on me?”
Um … yes.
“If that had happened at St. Vincent-St. Mary, ending my career with a loss, I’d have been upset. But I came out here to have fun.”
And to fill the joint.
The crowd of 18,424 – not, by the way, the all-time high for this 30-year-old schoolboy extravaganza – included Warren Sapp, Patrick Ewing, BET founder Robert Johnson, recently crowned NCAA titleist Carmelo Anthony and MJ himself.
James was the reason.
Just like he was the reason a corn-rowed pipsqueak named Bow Wow rolled out at halftime and turned this herky-jerky game into an equally disjointed concert.
Just like he was the reason, too, that Ludacris decided immediately-after-the-game might make for a super time to rap loudly to an emptying arena – after all, wouldn’t want anyone to be able to hear anything in the presser some 50 feet from the floor.
High school, hoops and hip-hop – LeBron did this.
Believe it or not, though, there were others running and jumping and dunking out there.
How good was Shannon Brown? He managed to do the near impossible – share an MVP award with the King. The Michigan State signee had 24 of his 27 points after halftime.
Wake Forest-bound point guard was his typically terrific self, adding 18 points and six assists for the silvers.
For ‘Bron’s blacks, undecided Linas Kleiza did his rock-steady routine to the tune of 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Duke signee Kris Humphries posted 12 and 12.
After the festivities – to call it a game, really, wouldn’t be quite right – all the questions were shouted over Ludacris and in the general direction of James.
And still there were queries about, well, if he HAD gone to college, where would he have gone? Seriously, folks: Why the obsession?
But King Gone played along with the guys who just don’t get it.
“North Carolina, Florida and … Michigan State,” he said, smiling, stroking his chin, clearly coming up with names of high-profile schools as if they were rabbits out of a hat.
Some media mainstreamers smiled dumbly and nodded blankly.
Then St. Pat’s coach Kevin Boyle (the black team’s chaperone this week) threw them the following bone: “What separates LeBron from other great players is his work ethic and his ability to make other people better.”
With that – and with Ludicrous (can we spell it that way just this once) wailing away in the background – LeBron leaped to his feet and told everybody that he’d see us all “down the line.”
He didn’t mean Chapel Hill or Gainesville or East Lansing.
‘Til NYC, LBJ.