Posted: Wednesday December 7, 2005 5:50PM; Updated: Wednesday December 7, 2005 6:21PM
And though Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall have proven capable of playing basketball at a high level, they have yet to prove they can do it in the postseason.
Watching the Cavs against the Kings Tuesday night, one could see it happening already -- in the way the Sacramento broadcasters fawned over James, the way Gooden got wide open dunk after wide open dunk, the way Ilgauskas was lauded repeatedly and referred to as an "All-Star center" (which he is, in part because he was on a winning team last year), the way there appeared to be a buzz at Arco befitting, well, a rock band.
Kevin Garnett sees where it's headed. "If you're paying for a ticket to see LeBron, it's like a present," Garnett told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune recently. "I hope the city of Cleveland totally understands what they get to see night in and night out. He's like the Beatles right now."
Funny, it's almost like we've heard that analogy before. Oh that's right, we have. "The Bulls are Beatles of the NBA," (May 24, 1996, USA Today), "The Bulls are the Beatles of today" (Danny Ainge, in January of 1996), and 85 other references in the mid-'90s, according to our friend Lexis-Nexis. (The first was made in '91, when Bob Greene wrote in the Chicago Tribune: "What is going on with the Bulls right now has much more in common with the heyday of the early Rolling Stones, the early Beatles, than it does with professional sports.")
Last season, Jones earned the nickname "Donkey," because he was always following around Shaq (aka Shrek), cackling at his jokes. This year, he might be wise to fashion himself a Ringo-esque existence.
After all, Ringo might not have been the most talented Beatle, but think if he'd joined some other Liverpool band back in the day? That would be like voluntarily leaving the Cavs during the LeBron area, sort of like -- what's that guy's name again? -- oh yeah, Carlos Boozer. How'd that work out for him, anyway?