Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Like Yankee fans everywhere, LeBron James is feeling Mariano Rivera’s pain.
After dropping a game-high 32 points on the Knicks in Miami’s 87-70 victory in Game 3 Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, James went back to his hotel room and learned with the rest of the sports world that Rivera had been felled by a torn ACL.
“I think it’s unfortunate, honestly,” James said Friday at Heat shootaround at MSG. “We all know the great baseball player he is. Probably the best closer that MLB has ever seen. For him to have a freak accident like that, you can’t explain it. No one can explain it.”
Rivera tore his ACL Thursday while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. He chased after a ball and crashed into the wall.
“It’s something he’s been doing like they said for 20-plus years,” James said. “It’s unfortunate. We’ll see what happens with the situation. Wish him the best and speedy recovery.”
The Yankees have Rafael Soriano and David Robertson at their disposal, but neither measures up to arguably the greatest closer of all time.
Rivera is baseball’s all-time leader with 608 saves and has five World Series rings.
“Soriano has the experience,” James said. “He has 80 career saves over his years in MLB and Robertson as well. Hopefully he can pick it up as well.
“We’ll see. You can’t replace Mariano, but you hope guys can fill in for him.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.