The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
LeBron James Looking Forward To Playing For Knicks
Originally posted 4/21/2003

Commissioner David Stern tells a reporter how he's rigged the 2003 NBA draft
AKRON, OH - Widely hyped high school basketball phenom LeBron James said yesterday that he's very much looking forward to playing for the New York Knicks. He said he was informed this week by NBA commissioner David Stern that the draft lottery would be rigged so that New York, a team that hasn't won a championship since long before James was born and is in dire need of a spark to rekindle fan interest, would be in a position to select him.

"I'm excited about going to New York," James said. "I was surprised when Stern called me up and told me all what was gonna happen. He didn't ask me not to say nothing, so I figured it was okay to talk about it."

"I think I really outdid myself with this one," said Stern when reached for comment. "Normally I like to keep my vast conspiracies a secret, like when I rigged it so the Magic got Shaq or when I made Michael Jordan quit for a few years to play baseball so nobody would look into all that hush money he was paying the Russian mob. But this thing with LeBron James, this one was just too darn good. I had to let people know."

Stern went on to explain how he orchestrated the Cleveland Cavaliers' firing of coach John Lucas, who had cultivated a relationship with James, who hails from nearby Akron. Lucas' ouster alienated James from the Cavaliers, who tied with the Denver Nuggets for the worst record in the league and thus have a very good chance of landing the first overall pick in June's draft.

"I couldn't let LeBron go to the Cavs," Stern said. "They're not even a real team, they're just a front for this money-laundering operation that -- well, perhaps I've said too much. In any case, creating bad blood between LeBron and the Cavs was easy. Orchestrating Syracuse's triumph in the NCAA tournament so as to bring freshman Carmelo Anthony to national prominence and thus create some doubt as to LeBron's lead-pipe cinch status as the surefire top pick in this year's draft, now that took some doing."

James told reporters that the Knicks, who only have a 1.8 % chance of landing a draft pick in the top three, will draw the second selection, something no one will think all that bizarre at the time. "Then," James said, "after the Cavs take Anthony, the Knicks will take me. The money's not quite as good but [Stern] said he'd pay me the difference under the table, like he did for Joe Smith after he pretended to bust him and the Timberwolves a couple of years ago."

"Yes, yes," said Stern. "It's all falling into place. LeBron will go to the Knicks, and they'll climb back to respectability just in time for Kobe to sign with them. Mwaa-ha-ha-haaaa!"

Stern then produced from his pocket a small caplet, which he threw to the ground. The caplet proceeded to shatter on the floor and emit a dense purple cough-inducing smoke, after the dissipation of which Stern was nowhere to be found.

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