Is it going to be like this for the next year and a half? Every NBA team with cap space rolling out the red carpet for LeBron James like it’s a recruiting trip and he’s Johnny Walker. Last night was the Knicks’ turn to playing willing host, both figuratively and literally - the fans gave him a hero’s welcome, and the team played their role as second bananas as they were little obstacle in the Cavaliers’ 119-101 win.
Meanwhile, let me remind again you that King James doesn’t become a free agent until July 2010 - that’s almost two full seasons from now. So expect the parade to be coming to your town very soon - perhaps he won’t be wearing special shoes dedicated to your city, but believe me, you’re going to get really sick of it very soon.
Also coming to your city is Ball State - provided that your city is Detroit, and not a place like Glendale, New Orleans, Miami or Pasadena where they have a BCS bowl game. The Cardinals took care of Western Michigan 45-22 to wrap up a perfect regular season and book a date in the MAC title game in the Motor City. So good for them, I guess.
Meanwhile, there were some damned compelling college basketball games last night. Chief among them was Notre Dame hanging on to beat Texas 81-80 at the Maui Invitational, as A.J. Abrams’ desperation 60-footer at the buzzer hit the rim but missed. It sets up a meeting against No. 1 North Carolina for the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish and a chance for their fans to have something to celebrate in advance of their annual thrashing at the hands of USC this weekend.
- How many ways to hate Jon Gruden? Let FOOD COURT LUNCH show you all of his punchable faces.
- Say hello to Diagne Thierno Seydou Nouro, the Danny Almonte of Japanese high school basketball: The MAINICHI DAILY NEWS says the Senegalese exchange student shaved almost five years off his age to play on a championship-winning high school team.
- Your daily dose of economic bad news: ESPN reports that plenty of advertising spots for the Super Bowl this year are still available, despite NBC’s earlier rosy predictions.
- In other financial news, the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE says that Cal coach Jeff Tedford has deferred a bonus payment due to him until…some time in the future.
- Pete Carroll’s excuse for the otherwise inexplicable loss to Oregon State earlier this year? He tells the LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS that it was the aftermath of the hype of the Ohio State game.
- Speaking of Oregon State, it looks like their path to their first Rose Bowl appearance since the 1964 season just got murkier, as THE OREGONIAN reports that star running back Jacquizz Rodgers is unlikely to play in their must-win Civil War game against Oregon this Saturday with an injured shoulder.
- Just when Cleveland Browns fans thought they had seen the last of Derek Anderson doing anything other than holding a clipboard…the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER notes that he’ll be the starting QB for the final five games now that Brady Quinn is shelved for the year with his broken finger.
- Julius Jones tells the SEATTLE TIMES just how fired up he is to face his former team the Cowboys this Thanksgiving. I’m sure that Dallas is just as excited to see his hapless new team the Seahawks come to town.
- INTENTIONAL FOUL brushes up on some of the greatest mustaches in NBA history. Expect NBA TV to have a four-part special over Christmas.
- Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira buyers beware! THE EXAMINER has compiled an all-Scott Boras Bust team.