By Phil Hecken
A little over a month ago, the Cleveland
Cavaliers LeBrons came to town, my town, to play the New York Knicks. Anyone who’s been following professional basketball for the past, oh, decade or so, knows about the sorry state of that franchise from the Big Apple. Slightly lesser known, but still not exactly a well-kept secret, is that one of Cleveland’s biggest Yankees fans is slated to become a free agent following the 2009-10 season. So aside from just the usual hype of a “LeBron in the Garden” matchup vs. the Knicks (featuring yet another new sneaker from Nike), speculation that “LeBron’s free agency” equals “LeBron will be a Knick” began anew.
If this had all happened 20 years ago, New York fans would only be able to imagine what LeBron would look like in a Knicks uni. But today, thanks to Photoshop, fans can create their own custom versions of LeBron as a Knick. Lots and lots of these digital creations have appearing across the Interwebs — some very good ones, some very bad ones, and some in between — all of them whetting New Yorkers’ appetites to the possibility that LeBron in Knicks clothes may be closer to reality than fantasy.
Surely King James in blue and orange is enough to make the ad men salivate. His current shoe contract has already produced some New York City-themed sneakers (here’s another peek), and there have even been some “birthday shoes” produced in the Knicks colorway. Imagine what will happen to the sneaker market if LeBron actually became a Knick?
But I digress. Even fake NBA-themed ads have been circulating, along with all the interesting photoshops. It’s enough to make New Yorkers long to see this about 41 times a year, plus the playoffs (which would surely follow a LeBron signing, right?). For their part, Knick fans have been courting the King at every chance. Will their love (and LeBron’s love of money and stated desire to become the sports world’s first billionaire) be enough to bring the King to the Big Apple?
Photoshops of athletes in teams they never played for are nothing new. But they sure are fun. Even in the days before Photoshop, artists and engineers have been doing it. Your assignment today is to find your favorite athlete in a uniform he or she never wore. Let’s see what we can come up with, people.
NFL Divisional Playoff Picks: Here are my picks for the NFL Divisional Playoffs, based on the “Old School” method of selecting winners. All games are using the spread as of Friday evening. Last week yielded a 2-2 split. Saturday’s Games: Baltimore Ravens (-1.5) at Tennessee Titans, 4:30 pm Eastern — Flaming Thumb Tacks vs. Ugly Purple Birds — Home Dog gets the points — take the Titans; Arizona Cardinals (+5.5) at Carolina Panthers, 8:15 pm Eastern — Red Birds vs. Black Cats — Felines win every time, even giving away 5 and a half; Sunday’s Games: Philadelphia Eagles (+2) at New York Giants, 1:00 pm Eastern — Large creatures against National Bird — G-men roll towards SBXLIII, spotting the Iggles only 2; San Diego Chargers (+3) at Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:45 pm Eastern — Lightning Bolts vs. US Steel — Stillers take the charge and remain standing, giving up only a field goal. There you have it, let’s roll.