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 — Spike Lee says LeBron James will become a hated man in Ohio if he opts to play for the Miami Heat.
“He’s gonna be a villain,” Lee said at the Amar’e Stoudemire press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
“If he leaves Cleveland, he’s going to have to sell his house, swear to God. He’s not going to be able to go back in the state. That’s gonna be ugly,” added Lee, a lifetime Knicks’ fan who figures prominently in the documentary “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks.”
“I’m not wishing that upon him, but just reading stuff, people are already filled with venom and he hasn’t even made his announcement. I think people in Cleveland, they think he’s gonna go.”
Lee was involved in the recruitment of James and Stoudemire to the Knicks, but now it appears that Stoudemire will be the lone big-money acquisition the Knicks make.
James is set to announce his choice at 9 o’clock on ESPN, with reports having him leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat. PerezHilton even reports that LeBron has rented six cabanas on South Beach this weekend to celebrate. Yet James is reportedly set to be in Carmelo Anthony’s wedding this weekend in New York.
Lee called Stoudemire the “first step” in the Knicks future and said the team could make other moves even without LeBron.
“We’ve got Amar’e and that enables us to get possibly LeBron or Carmelo [Anthony] next year, a sign-and-trade with Chris Paul, or Tony Parker,” Lee said. “Amar’e’s not the only thing we’re gonna do. They’re not even done yet.”
Asked if Knicks’ fans would feel the two years of pursuing James were wasted, Lee said no.
“They’re not gonna blame the Knicks for not getting LeBron,” he said. “They just know LeBron didn’t want to come here.”
Lee said he himself would be disappointed but that he would get over it.
“Look, in my life, in my film career, there have been so many times where I wanted something and it didn’t happen,” Lee said. “And at that point, I think it’s the worst thing that ever happened in my life, and then the further I got away from it, I’m like, ‘Thank God.'”
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.