EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Somebody is going to try to blame me for this, I just know it.
Having seen Dwyane Wade play in New Jersey Friday night, I of course made the trip across the bridges and tunnels to see his pal LeBron James Sunday. Rule No. 1: Never miss a LeBron appearance in the New York metropolitan area.
As LeBron spoke with the usual gaggle of reporters about an hour before the game, I asked what was intended to be an innocuous question about Wade, his close friend and growing personal rival. This was meant to be a notebook stuffer, something I could incorporate into a story I'm planning for later on.
I asked LeBron a couple of questions that were phrased pretty much the same as those I asked Wade Friday night. One of them focused on the fact that, as long as LeBron and Wade are in the same conference, their rivalry will grow because they'll play each other more often -- but it'll suffer because they'll never compete against each other for an NBA title. Which would he prefer?
His answer is going to be chalked up to another New York-based writer harassing poor LeBron into talking about free agency. But as you can tell from my question, that wasn't my intention at all. LeBron, who always manages to stoke the 2010 flames when he passes through these parts, dropped a juicy little tidbit in his response without any solicitation from me.
"I don’t know, it doesn't matter," LeBron said. "Whatever happens, we’ll go against each other. And you know, maybe we’ll go against each other in practice, I don’t know. That’d be fun, wouldn’t it?"
So LeBron continues to lead the league in not-quite-tampering. As for where LeBron and Wade might become teammates, LeBron wasn't saying. He was just having his usual fun with the media here, IMHO.
After the interview was over, one reporter asked him if his answer about Wade meant that South Beach has now made his list of top five cities.The Miami Heat, after all, will have plenty of cap room in 2010.
"I didn't say I was going to Miami," LeBron said as he walked to the trainer's room. "I didn't say he was coming here. Could be the Olympics."
It's always fun when LeBron comes to town, even before he touches the ball or does his chalk thing in the air. Just for the record, my question and his answer were coming from two different places.