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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Smith: Miami Herald Pulls Ads; LeBron's Decision: It's Miami!
Aired July 8, 2010 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, in just minutes, one of sport's greatest guessing games is going to be over. The world will finally know who NBA superstar, LeBron James, will play for next year. Cleveland? New York? Chicago? Miami? L.A.? New Jersey? LeBron could change the financial fortunes of cities by playing there or not. We got live reaction from across the country.
Plus, Stephen A. Smith, John Salley, and Rick Fox, they're here with their takes on the LeBron James' sweepstakes. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
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KING (on-camera): Good evening. We got cameras around the country where millions are holding their collective breath. They'll be delirious with joy of feeling the pain any minute now. We're going to meet Dru Joyce, LeBron James' high school basketball coach, John Salley, former NBA star, chomping at the bit to let us know what he thinks, the one, the only, Stephen A. smith, nationally syndicated radio host for Fox Sports radio with a startling revelation coming, and Rick Fox, the former L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtic and the star of Spike TV's "Pros vs. Joes."
And when I sat down, this all really started after the season when LeBron James did his first interview with us, at his home in Akron, early June. We talked about his free agency and the big decision. Here's what he said then.
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KING: In your head, is there places you'd like to go? I'm not going to ask you to commit, but if you want to commit, you can do it right here?
LEBRON JAMES, NBA STAR: For me, I think my ultimate goal is winning championships. And I understand, that me going down as one of the greats, will not happen until I, you know, win a championship. So, for me, the team that I decide to go to or, you know, staying in Cleveland, that ultimately has the best chance for me to win a championship, not one year, but multiple years or for me to continue to get better and help that team win. I think ultimately would be my decision. I'm going to do as best for me and my family.
KING: So, can we say it will not be a poor team, a team of players who you do not calculate would be there to win championships? If you can't play forever?
JAMES: No, I cannot play forever. That is absolutely right. but the team that I go to or, you know, whatever the case may be will have the opportunity to win championships multiple years and not just because of LeBron James.
KING: So, it would have to be a good team?
KING: Do you lean at all to the place you know the best. I mean, do they have an edge going in, your home team?
JAMES: Absolutely. Absolutely. Because this city, these fans, I mean, has given me a lot. And in the seven years, and you know, for me it is comfortable. So, I got a lot of memories here. So, it does have an edge.
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KING: Anybody with any knowledge of basketball knows that the Miami Heat would be the best right now. They've added Chris Bosh and they kept Dwayne Wade. We'll get our panelists' forecast, but let's go first to Stephen A. Smith who has interesting bit of news -- Stephen.
STEPHEN A. SMITH, FOX SPORTS RADIO: "Miami Herald" news has leaked out that a little over an hour ago, the Miami Heat pulled their full page welcome LeBron ad out of "The Miami Herald" that was scheduled to show up in the papers tonight after his announcement. So, right now, people like myself will predict that he was going to Miami two weeks ago, a lot of others who have predicted he's going to the Heat, were up in the air right now. Nobody can possibly know what he's going to do right now because all of this has transpired in the last few minutes.
KING: Dru Joyce, you and LeBron go back a long way. He said you're like a father figure to him. Were you involved in any counseling in this?
DRU JOYCE, LEBRON'S HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL COACH: Not at all. I've been a fan like everyone else, just anxious and waiting to find out what his final decision is.
KING: What do you think of the ad being pulled, John Salley?
JOHN SALLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I think, like Stephen is down this -- as Stephen to be down there means, you know, he had a pretty concrete idea that that was going to happen. For them pulling the ad means he's going to have a New York jersey on next year with big number 6 in the middle. It's going to be like when Dr. J wore number 6 in the Philly.
KING: So, you're saying no chance, Bulls and Cavaliers?
SALLEY: Oh, no, no. He got to go to New York. He got the three- handshake with Jay-Z. He knows his way around. He's going to get a driver.
KING: Jay-Z is more with the Nets?
SALLEY: Yes, but he gets to hang out with Jay-Z like I get to hang out with --
KING: So, with Clippers and Nets, forget, right?
SALLEY: Oh, get out of here.
KING: So, Cavaliers, Knicks, Heat, and Bulls?
SALLEY: I'm going with the Knicks.
KING: Where you going, Rick?
RICK FOX, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I usually follow the money. And I think New York pretty much laid out the plan for them --
KING: The money he will make more in Cleveland.
FOX: He would make more in Cleveland, but overall, that projection of $1 billion down the road with championships in New York, the marketing, the Madison Avenue effect, the global effect of New York to his brand is, is something that you can't, you know, find in any other city. I think the pulling of the ad might have been just a typo, an edit, could have been an error. They may be saying thank you, LeBron for showing up.
SALLEY: So, you seem a nice guy, Rick.
KING: When I sat down with LeBron in June, we ran through some of the major teams in the running. Watch.
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KING: Are you humbled by the fact that the mayor of New York City, Gotham, wants you to play there?
JAMES: Well, absolutely.
KING: The mayor of New York.
JAMES: Absolutely. I mean, the mayor of New York, he's great. I mean, he's done some great things. It is humbling. And not just from the mayor of New York, but you know, you have the president saying --
KING: Go to Chicago.
JAMES: Yes, go to Chicago. And you have other cities and other people wanting you to be part of their city, wanting you to be part of their franchise. It's very humbling because I work very hard at my craft and what I do. So, it pays off.
KING: But you already said it has to be a good team?
KING: OK. Now, there's another good team, though, where offers -- where speculation is. How about the Clippers which would put you in the same city as Kobe in the same Arena as Kobe with a team with some nice young players?
JAMES: Really good players. And I think everyone, in Clipperland is looking forward to Blake Griffin coming back --
JAMES: And being healthy. Chris Cayman, they got some really good players, Baron Davis, some really nice solid pieces that, you know, if they add a free agent here or free agent there, it could be a really good team.
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KING: Stephen Smith do you think we're going to be really surprised in a couple minutes?
SMITH: I'd be shocked. You know, I've been reporting that he's going to the Miami Heat, and I'm going to go down with the ship. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. But I've been hearing for weeks pretty longer -- to longer than that, he's going to go to Miami Heat because the priority is to win a championship. When we talk about his marketability, I was speaking to CNBC's Darren Rovell earlier this morning on my radio show, and what he pointed out is it's not about cities in the United States anymore in your terms of your marketability especially for a global iconic figure like LeBron James.
It's about China. That's where the money is being made. He signed a lesser contract with Nike, had a seven-year deal previously. It's lesser than that now, so less money. Why? Because he gets royalties directly from what they ultimately generate from China. So, you have a situation where if you're chasing after the dollars and those dollars emanating from China, then ultimately, your marketability is not going to be affected. Championships determine the stricter your marketability, your cache right now more so than anything else.
He comes to New York. He's not winning with that defense. He's not winning with just Amare Stoudemire goes to Chicago. He got a belter chance. Not going to win in Cleveland, he has already proved that with us, but D. Wade is a superstar. Chris bosh is a star. He's a superstar. It's South Beach. It's Pat Riley. It's no state taxes. It's all of that stuff. Makes absolutely no sense to me for him to go anywhere else, but it's not my decision. It's his. So be it.
KING: Dru Joyce, you are in Chicago. You coached him in high school. The president of the United States would like to play him in Chicago, like him to play there, and he told me that he grew up a Bull fan. Do you give the bulls a big shot here?
JOYCE: Me being here honestly has nothing to do with his decision. I'm here on business. You know -- I'm going to be a homer. I'm going to be the one who sticks with I believe he's going to stay in Cleveland. You know, I think that what Stephen said is very, very true. He can be a global figure anywhere he chooses. It's not about Madison Avenue as much as it used to be. And, you know, I think that he's going to stay home.
KING: Rick Fox, speaking of home, what about -- the heart carries a lot of weight. And his heart embellished in Cleveland, Akron?
FOX: It is. It sure is. It's been his life. He's known nothing else. He's had success. The team Cleveland Cavaliers had been the leading team last two years record wise. They've fallen short. If you look at the personnel, it may not be the strongest lineup from one to 12. But you put him with 11 other guys. Granted Miami with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, it's a stronger top three than you'll find anywhere in the league.
But it's game of basketball, as you guys know. You need two more other starters and a bench. And championships are won in the paint. So, their weakest positions in Cleveland were in the paint. And you know can he actually say goodbye to home? There's a lot of people there supporting him.
SALLEY: You don't say bye to home, though. And you think about it, we were on the team where literally Kobe couldn't win without Shaq. Shaq couldn't win without Kobe. Kobe won this year, but it was really, he had Paul Gasol who really could have been MVP of the final. When they talk about you can be marketable anywhere. Think about this. New York City is still leading our country. I think Vegas now are the most visited place.
When you get a New York Jersey, and they're talking about, like you said, when you're on Madison Avenue, a lot changes. I think staying in Cleveland is great. But those fans will love you to death. If you don't win a championship, they will hate you.
FOX: So, there's no security?
KING: Sid Rosenberg, sports radio host, for WFAN in New York City, worked to WQAM where I used to be down in Miami not a QAM but in the city. He's at 40-40 Club in New York. The bar is owned by entertainer, Jay-Z, who's a major basketball fan. Sid, with the news that this ad has been pulled out of "The Miami Herald" tomorrow, what do you make of that? What are your thoughts?
SID ROSENBERG, SPORTS RADIO HOST, WFAN: Well, I think it's an opportunity now for the Knicks to possibly grab LeBron. Like you said, Larry, we're here at Jay-Z's club. It is a raucous, excited crowd. Earlier today, the knickerbockers introduced Amare Stoudemire as the ewest member of the basketball team, but it wasn't enough, Larry. It still felt like they wanted more and announcement tonight of LeBron James coming to Madison Square Garden would be just what this crowd needs. The Herald pulling those ads, Larry, may in fact be the linchpin for LeBron to be a Knick.
KING: Are you amazed, Rick, that nothing has leaked? FOX: I am. I'm absolutely amazed. In this era of social media where everyone has a twitter, where everyone has an opinion, some people have stood pretty strongly on their predictions in this case with Stephen A. Smith. He's an hour and two minutes away from potentially having leaked the prediction of the pre (ph) broadcast.
KING: Let me get a break. We'll come back with more. As soon as we know it, you'll know it. We'll get the opinions of many. We'll go to bars around the country. And my man, Tom Arnold is going to join us. Don't go away.
KING: Joining our panel now is Tom Arnold, the comedian, actor, the former host of the best damn sports show period and performing July 30th, by the way, at the comedy festival in San Bernardino. What do you think of all this?
TOM ARNOLD, COMEDIAN: I think there's a lot of emotion going on in Cleveland. Heard he can't move back there afterwards. The guy has given what, 25, 26 years of his life to that place. It's like a marriage, Larry. And a seven-year marriage he's had there with that team, that's a long marriage as you and I well know. I know people are upset, but he'll always be a part. You can't take away someone's hometown.
KING: What are you saying, Tom?
ARNOLD: What I'm saying is he never got to go to college. He never got to go away and have fun.
KING: What are you saying?
ARNOLD: I think he's going to Miami or some where. I feel bad for Cleveland. But I'm a Chicago Cubs fan. So, I know that pain.
KING: I'm going to see the Cubs tonight.
ARNOLD: I know you are because you're rooting for the Dodgers.
KING: Of course. Speaking of Cleveland, Errol Porter, the sports director at sportstalkcleveland.com joins us from the winking lizard tavern -- the winking lizard. What's the mood there, Errol?
ERROL PORTER, SPORTSTALKCLEVELAND.COM: You know what? Larry, I tell you one thing, as long as there is enough beer here and everybody is going to be OK. Behind me, we're all, one thing about Cleveland, when we gather together in Cleveland, has anything to do with sports, we expect something bad to happen. So, that's what we're waiting on, some bad news.
KING: Stephen Smith has reported that "The Miami Herald" canceled an ad scheduled to run for the Miami Heat tomorrow, welcoming LeBron to Miami. Does that build your hopes?
PORTER: No, actually, you know what, I got that scoop from you guys with my earpiece in. And, I spread that rumor around, nobody, nobody budged on it. We don't believe it until we hear it.
KING: All right. Stephen A. Smith, now that you have to hedge your bet a little, where would you lean, hedging your bet?
SMITH: First of all, I don't hedge bets. I go down with the ship. I make a prediction, I stick with it, but if I had to hedge it, it would be Chicago, simply because the acquisition of Boozer, combined with Derrick Rose, (INAUDIBLE) Joakim Noah, and Luol Deng, I wouldn't want to inherit the legacy of Michael Jordan and have going to live up to that if I were LeBron James. But if I was going to be big, bad, and bold, I would definitely do that. But again, I can't imagine it.
You know, to me, it comes down to Miami, New York because of the billion, got to remember, James Dowland, the chairman for the New York Knicks and Cablevision, he basically presented a package to LeBron James showing him if he came to New York, he can make up to $2 billion. And I don't know how plausible that is, but you say $2 billion to somebody, a young 25-year-old man, you'll definitely going to get his attention. But again, as about the Miami Heat right now, until I hear him say, otherwise, I'm convinced that's where he is going.
KING: And we'll be right back with more. The tension builds. Don't go away.
KING: We're back. By the way, even President Obama had some words of advice for LeBron. Here's what he told me when I interviewed him at the white house in June.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: LeBron, I've had a chance to meet him. Wonderful young man, amazing talent. What I said to him was, I didn't say it to him, I said it to Marv Albert, he needs to be in a place where he got a coach and a team around him that can do what Phil Jackson and the Bulls did for Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan couldn't win the championship on his own. It's all about having a team concept that works. And he hasn't quite gotten that yet. And he needs to find that situation. I'll be honest with you, and my folks in Chicago may be mad at me for saying this, but I think it would be a wonderful story if LeBron says, you know what, I'm going to stay here in Cleveland.
You know, he's from Ohio. You know, that's a town that has had some tough times. For him to say, I'm going to make a commitment to the city, you know, I think would be a wonderful thing. But he got to -- make sure that he got a team around him and a coach that he respects, he has bought into the team concept, he is willing to be coached, and, and if he does that, he'll have an even more remarkable career than he's having right now.
KING: Dru Joyce, his high school coach, where would you like him to go? JOYCE: Well, you know -- I respect everything, you know, your esteemed panel has suggested. But there are a couple things, you know, one you don't win 60 games in the NBA and have a bad team. I think they, they won 60 games. And there were some things that maybe they could have done differently in the playoffs that could have pushed him a little bit further. So, I'm thinking that they're not that far away. And maybe, the key is Byron Scott. I think that we're kind of overlooking what he might bring to the table.
So, I'd love to see him stay in Cleveland. I think that -- Miami has some definite high points. You know, I think Chicago -- they lack, they lack really some, really a real bona fide shooter. I don't know if that's the right place. But, again, you know when you look at things -- from the perspective of, you know, superstars and paring up guys, yes, Miami seems like the best place. But, you know, honestly, you, you -- I -- I think we're overlooking that the Cavaliers haven't been that far away from it.
KING: Well said. Mr. Salley?
SALLEY: If you win 60 games two years in a row and you don't win a championship, your team is bad.
KING: What do you mean bad?
SALLEY: You're not good enough because, really, when you get to those 60 games, that's the end of your contract for that year. The playoffs are all pride. You only get playoff money. Your team needs to be a better team. If you can't win 15 games and win the championship, you're not a god team.
ARNOLD: But look at all these fans. I mean, the Cleveland has the best fan --
ARNOLD: No, you can't forget the fans. The fans get a vote. They get a vote. If this were on Fox, they would have a vote. And they would have little people and monkeys and it would be crazy. They would make a spectacle of this. But the fans deserve it. Look at the fans.
SALLEY: Fans are great, but those people are going to be at the bar, anyway. It's a summertime. And that's what they do. They just gave him another --
KING: Rick, where would you like him to go?
FOX: I would look to see him win. I would like to see him win a championship. When I look at the landscape in terms of personnel, all due respect to the coach who's been with him since high school, similar to what John was saying, Cleveland may have the best record. I don't think they're the best team. I think the best style of play for him is in New York which is up tempo which suits him.
ARNOLD: How many years before they win a championship? FOX: Three. Three.
ARNOLD: The Lakers are the champions right now.
FOX: But look, the air I breathe at championship level was due two guys, Kobe and Shaq. No disrespect. When you look at Cleveland's team, you see, a Lebron, and you don't see a second guy that is of his caliber. Now, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh.
KING: If Chris Bosh had gone there?
FOX: Yes, but that's another one of the problems, Larry. Free agents apparently do not want to even sign and trade. Chris Bosh left $30 million on the table.
ARNOLD: But he hasn't signed it either.
FOX: He hasn't.
ARNOLD: He announced, but he hasn't signed. Everything could change. LeBron could say, the team he is going to tonight, and then tomorrow change his mind. Wake up and feel really bad. I mean, how many times has that happened to us? So, that's the thing you have to remember.
KING: Stephen, now forgetting aside where you think he is going, from a personal standpoint, where would you like him to go?
SMITH: Well, I'm sick and tired of people playing games. I mean, I'm a native New York. I would love to see him in New York, but they don't play any defense. He's got no shot of winning a championship there until they improve that which is years away. Scratch that. You look at the Chicago Bulls. They got youth. They got a lot of talent. But youth, very limited shooters, especially now that they traded Kirk Hinrich to the Washington Wizards. And oh, by the way, LeBron James has to live up to the legacy of Michael Jordan. Unless he wins six championships, he fell short. Scratch that.
You look at the Cleveland Cavaliers, seven years, no rings whatsoever. You have the talent, engaged in all those history on it, taking pictures of one another, posing, doing all that stuff during the regular season, then folding like cheap tents when it really counted. Scratch them. It comes down to being along side a superstar in Dwayne Wade who's proven he can get it done. You got an all-star in Chris Bosh who you know can play.
You got a man with five rings, running the organization, who, by the way, would probably step down to come and coach you guys in the locker room and oh, by the way, it's south beach. No state taxes. I don't understand what the complications are about it. Can we please stop playing games and trying to fool America. We know what time this is.
SALLEY: I love Stephen. He is 100 percent right. He is 100 percent right. Every single thing he said --
KING: But why was the ad pulled? SALLEY: Forget about this. Shaq and Kobe were on the team with you the year earlier, too, Rick, until Phil Jackson got there. Then came up with a system is how you won the championship.
FOX: System for basketball.
SALLEY: The system. So, Byron may be a guy from Pat Riley's School, but he hasn't won as a coach in that level. I'm just telling you everything can change when LeBron going into --
ARNOLD: His heart is in Ohio. His heart --
SALLEY: No, his mama is in Ohio. She was on our Mother's Day show. She was hot. Yes. His mama is hot. Take his career to New York.
KING: All right. We have just learned he has picked Miami.
SALLEY: That's it. Stephen is 100 percent right.
KING: So, you were right, Stephen. So, why did they pull the ad, Stephen?
SMITH: It was a ploy. It was a ploy. Because you want to build the suspense. If you pull the ad and then you have everybody wondering which means they'll watch the special even more and that would be that.
KING: Here's what LeBron James had to say just moments ago about his decision to go to Miami. He said only a very small number know of his decision. He wanted to figure out the best chance for me to win and to be happy. He said. "I want to thank all six teams that I sat down with. "It's been unbelievable and a humbling experience." He said, decided it this morning, said he went day-to-day, woke up one morning and think this team. Wake up another morning and think it's another team. This morning, I woke up and had a great conversation with my mom, and I was set.
He also said -- I don't have any doubts about my decision. We will take a break. Come back. And get all of our panels' thoughts on LeBron James, a heat. Don't go away.
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KING: It ain't the money, though, is it?
JAMES: The money is going to come. It's not about the money. I mean, I think right now if I stop playing the game of basketball, I'm set. My family is set.
KING: For life?
JAMES: For life. So It's not about the money. It's all about winning for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: On a personal note, I lived for 20 years in Miami, left in '78 to go up to Washington. And when I left, they did not have a NBA team. So I am very happy for city. I saw the Dolphins come there, broadcast Dolphin games. Now to see that Heat has won a championship already, a strong possibility they might win another.
But I live in Los Angeles, grew up in New York, have a lot of nice feelings about Miami getting this. Now, OK. How good, Dru Joyce, will this team be?
JOYCE: Wow, I mean, it's crazy. It is going to be a great team. The one thing about it, I think all three of those key players are -- they have a relationship. They have played together. I know Dwayne and Lebron have a special relationship. And I don't think anyone's ego is going to get in the way. I think they're going to put their heads together and work hard to make it -- you know, to make it what they all want.
And they're all winners and they all want championships. I know that, you know, this was what Lebron wanted more than anything. I knew the decision wouldn't be about the dollar, so to speak. I think that, you know, ultimately -- in my heart, I wanted him to stay in Cleveland. In my head, you know, I knew that Miami was probably -- when they signed Chris Bosh, it was probably going to happen.
KING: Pat Riley looked very happy after the meeting with Lebron. We have more of Lebron's comments to his fans in Cleveland. Lebron has just said, "it's hard to explain to them, but my heart and the seven years I gave was everything. Those 20,000 fans saw me grow from an 18-year-old kid to a 25-year-old man. My heart will also always be around that area. The greatest challenge for me was to move on. In a perfect world, I would have loved to stay. But it's time to change."
We have all discovered those thing do happen in life. Stephen Smith, you turned out to be right. Now how good will they be?
SMITH: They're instantly the favorite to come out of the east and represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA finals. Anything less will be completely unacceptable. It will be a flat out failure. The only team they have an excuse to lose to in the NBA at all is Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, the reining defending two time world champions. There is no excuse to lose to a single solitary other team. It is no excuse whatsoever.
You have Lebron James. You have Dwayne Wade. You have two of the three quintessential preeminent stars in the game. You have an all- star forward in Chris Bosh. You have a guy in Pat Riley, who better come from upstairs to come downstairs to coach this team, because, as much as we love Erik Spoelstra -- he has a bright future. Pat Riley made his career. You can't have him patrolling the locker room with those personalities, those stars in your locker room.
This is big time. This is as big as it gets. This has the potential -- not there, but has potential to be Jordan/Pippen. There is no excuse on the face of this Earth for this team not to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next year. Anything less would be a flat out failure.
KING: Stephen, in the future, try to be more direct in your comments.
KING: We have more comments from Lebron. Here's what Lebron said, "when I called my mom, I thought I would hear a different reaction. She said it was a great move, that it was ultimately going to make me happy. When I heard that from my mother,, it was out relief I was looking for through out this whole process."
Rick, how good will this team be? You played a lot of ball and you played on championship teams?
FOX: I have. I caution because I played on teams that were stacked with talent. I can think of Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, Gary Peyton. Not in their prime, but we were projected to win 80-plus games. It takes role players. It takes veterans that understand how to play the game. More importantly, it takes a system of basketball.
I will bring the triangle to the forefront here. If you look at how many championships have been won the last 12 years -- last 14 years, 12 of them land with the triangle system of basketball. That's all -- one other coach I would have played for Pat Riley in my life, that I would have wanted to play.
KING: Are any of these guys going to take a cut in pay?
ARNOLD: They all are. They will. The cap. They have to sign guys like you guys they need role players.
FOX: Guys are going to go down there. Let me tell you, I played in Chicago for 365,000 dollars, which was the minimum, which didn't make me any difference, because I was playing with the greatest player of all time. We won 72 games.
SALLEY: The difference is there is only one ball. All three of the guys are slashers to the basket. Scottie Pippen was a point guard that fed and ran the triangle. It was a system that they worked in. These guys aren't working in a system. And Pat Riley was a young coach when he won the championship with -- with Magic Johnson.
KING: We have got a Heat fan at bar in Miami, Ed Jiminez. Ed, what is your reaction?
ED JIMINEZ, MIAMI HEAT FAN: It is amazing, Larry. I am very excited. And the city of Miami and all of south Florida is incredibly excited about what is to happen, and seeing the greatest show on Earth come to our town. And we are very excited.
KING: So you, therefore, expect immediate victories, right?
JIMINEZ: Yeah, pretty much so. I mean, it is going to take a while for them to mesh. I really believe that after a while -- basically you're just going to watch a highlight reel every night you go to the arena to watch them play and wherever they go around the country to play the other teams. I think it is going to be an amazing show that we are going to witness. It will be the greatest thing that's ever happened in the NBA.
KING: Well put. Will it not, Tom, be the biggest draw attraction in the league, no doubt?
ARNOLD: Well, it will, except you have to remember the Lakers are still the champions. Here's the situation: Lakers' best player -- the best player in basketball, Kobe Bryant, played his worst game in game seven against the Celtics. The other guys came up and they won. That's why you have got to make sure that they have those guys and they don't just focus on the big three.
I mean, it is going to be a huge draw down there. I hope so. I hope people show up on time to games. But we'll see what happens. They have to get through the Staples Center.
FOX: Championship -- john, you're a big guy in the league. Championships are won in the paint. You win with rebounding and defense. All due respect to Chris Bosh, I would take Gasol over Chris Bosh.
KING: Who is the Miami center?
FOX: I don't know. I don't know if they have --
SALLEY: Shaq is trying to sell his house. Lebron move in. All move in. They're bachelors. Dwayne Wade. Just move into Shaq's big house. That would be a video. I would want a reality show just of the house.
ARNOLD: His toilet is that tall. I have seen it. I was his next door neighbor for eight years.
SALLEY: What were you doing while he was in the bathroom?
KING: Is Sid Rosenberg still with us?
ROSENBERG: I am. I am.
KING: All right, Sid, what's the disappointment in New York?
ROSENBERG: Very, very somber, Larry. Let me say this, I had the most to gain out of anybody there, because I am a sports talk show host in Miami at WQAM. I think this is a cowardly decision. I think it's horrible for the NBA to have two of the three best players in the world on the same team. Three of the top 13 players in the world on the same team.
Again, I have a lot to gain working in Miami. Heat fans are happy. But the balance of power in this league is a disaster now. I disagree with Stephen A. Smith. I've don't think Orlando is as good. I don't think the Lakers are as good. Gasol is their second option. He should have been here in New York With the Knicks. This was a place to make money, make this town and the Mecca relevant again. This is a bad business decision and bad for the NBA.
KING: Sid, does QAM have the rights to the games?
ROSENBERG: No, Larry. If they did, I would be happier!
KING: So, Sid, who is -- I associate so much with New York -- is happy that it is going to be down there.
ARNOLD: Talk radio guys are insane.
SALLEY: He didn't want to get beat up.
ARNOLD: They act like it is the league did this. It was one man, who was -- that is a brave decision, leaving your hometown. And what he did, you cannot say it was not brave.
KING: Now let's get the sad reaction from Errol Porter, the sports director at SportsTalkCleveland.com, at the Winking Lizard Tavern in Lakewood, Ohio, where there could be a couple of arrests tonight. Errol, how would we describe the mood in Ohio?
ERROL PORTER, SPORTSTALKCLEVELAND.COM: Right now, we have got a lot of angry people here, Larry. One thing they're saying is they don't believe -- Lebron should have stayed and took cared of his business here. Unfinished business here once again. There is a lot of bad thing that are happening behind me right now. Things are getting pulled off the wall. Everything Lebron is coming down. And we're a resilient city. Worst things have happened to us when it comes to sport. We are going to bounce back, as we always do. We know what it feels like to win, and we are going to put a team together that is going to contend.
KING: I'm not hearing them too clearly. What was he saying?
ARNOLD: He was saying that they own Lebron James. He is their property. And that's -- I understand the fans getting upset and everything. But also a lot of them were smiling. Because if you are a Chicago Cubs fan or Cleveland fan, you are used to this. This is why -- you know -- you are eternally optimistic.
SALLEY: How is it you think he's going stay? Why would you say, all right, he is going to stay there? He has given them everything. Like the coach said, they won 60 games and couldn't win the championship.
ARNOLD: High school, before that?
SALLEY: This guy is literally changing the league. In baseball, when Steinbrenner goes and gets all these players and stacks up the Yankees, it doesn't hurt Major League Baseball.
ARNOLD: How do you go from loving some one that much to suddenly hating them. Except in my marriages.
KING: Stephen, would you say that there is going to be hatred in Cleveland, Stephen?
SMITH: Possibly so, but who cares? That's number one. Number two, more importantly, Lebron James had to make this decision because he had spoken to Dwayne Wade about it months ago. It was his idea for them to team up in Miami. Dwayne Wade didn't even think it was possible until Lebron James brought it to his attention.
Number three, let me address what Mr. Sid Rosenberg had to say, as if somehow, some way, he has suddenly become a basketball officianado. It is clear that anybody that watches the New York Knicks knows that they can't defend John Salley on crutches. They simply can't play any defense. You don't win championships when you don't play defense.
Anybody that knows anything about basketball knows that. Pat Riley knows it. Phil Jackson knows it. Doc Rivers knows it. And anybody that knows basketball knows it. He can bring up anybody he wants. But the fact of the matter is it comes down to Miami and L.A., with Boston and Orlando having outside shots. That's about it. You can't explain it any simpler than that.
He should know enough about of the game of basketball. And if he doesn't, he certainly should not think about debating me.
KING: Sid, you're entitled to equal time.
ROSENBERG: Listen, I have the utmost respect for Stephen Smith. The man does know the game. In this case, he is just entirely wrong. I know just as much basketball as he does. Yes, Boston plays defense. Ray Allen, 20 million dollars, is an old man. Garnett is broken down. Orlando has two good players. Pat Riley's teams play defense. Now they have three best offensive players in the world. Stephen A., come on!
SMITH: That's what I am saying. Miami is the team to beat. That's what I said.
KING: You both agree there. All right. You are agreeing to disagree. I don't know what over you are disagreeing.
ROSENBERG: I just don't think that Boston, even the Lakers, Stephen A., coming off the championship win -- Gasol is their second best player. He would be the fourth best player on Miami. I don't even think Kobe Bryant, as great as he, is good enough to beat this Miami Heat basketball team. The balance of power has been mangled tonight by Lebron going to Miami. That is unarguable.
SMITH: It's arguable. It's debatable.
KING: Let me get a break, guys. Let me get a break and we shall --
ARNOLD: It's sports. It's fine.
KING: It's MacArthur to Manila. We'll be back.
SALLEY: Give Stephen some Lipitur.
KING: Noticing that Chris Bosh is going to be there with Dwayne Wade reminded me of a time when I talked with Lebron -- hope we got this ready to show. There was a story out that he was going to get together with other big name free agents, and they were going to figure out a game plan. I asked him to comment. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: There is a story circulating -- I don't know if it is true, so I wrote it down just to make sure. You can tell me. That you are going to get together. You with Bosh and Wade and Stoudemire and Lee and Johnson, Allen, Nowitzki. And -- is this funny?
JAMES: Little committee, little free agent committee.
KING: Free agent committee, no one can stop you. You are all free agent. The league can't tell you not to do this. What if you go there and I go here and we go here, is that possible?
JAMES: I don't know to that extent. But it would be fun. It would be fun to get all the free agents together and, you know, figure out a way how we can make the league better. Figure out a way --
KING: How can you do that?
JAMES: If we could, you know -- if it was like baseball we would all go to the same team.
KING: Are you the ringleader of the group?
JAMES: I am the ringleader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You can bet he spoke with them. Let's go to Kim Bokamper, old Dolphin. He's with WFOR. He's A sportscaster. He's at American Airlines Arena in Miami, which will be packed every home game this year. Kim, are there people there?
KIM BOKAMPER, WFOR SPORTSCASTER: Well, Larry, there are people here, if my photographer can pan over a little bit. People have gathered here at the American Airlines Arena. Certainly when the news came, they have a giant television scream above us. The fans erupted when they heard the news of Lebron was coming. Right now, on Biscayne Boulevard, all you can hear is a parade of cars honking, letting people know how happy they are. And it its a lot like the feeling in the World Cup when the United States won a game. You can get that great feeling.
This isn't the about the country, it's about the Miami Heat and Lebron James coming. And I tell you, you talk about bringing three players together, free agents, Lebron, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Pat Riley, certainly pulled a coup together. You have three of the biggest superstars in basketball, all willing to take less money to come here and play together. Quite a deal here in Miami, Larry.
KING: Thank you, Kim. Kim has his own Kim Bokamper Campus Bar and Grill Plantation. I thought I would mention that, because it's quite a hot spot.
ARNOLD: Those people are still out there from the Super Bowl, same people in the background.
KING: He pointed out that they are going to have to take a cut to make it all work.
SALLEY: They are. That's impressive. In today's age, where -- you heard me say, I usually follow the money, follow the athletes that follow the money. He stayed true to his word. He said e's going where he believes it's the best chance to win. I think he knows. Let's talk about his health for a second. He broke down in the last playoff run. He had been carrying that team for seven years. Maybe he needs some help. Maybe he needs a Dwyane Wade and a Chris Bosh to help him carry that load. If he does --
ARNOLD: They'll take the outside money, too. The three of them together, worldwide, they'll make extra money.
SALLEY: They need a big man, though, because Chris Bosh doesn't want to play power forward. Besides that, this is what's going to happen.
ARNOLD: You're done. You're done.
SALLEY: Trust me, I'm done. I could barely walk here to Larry. I'm telling you, it's going to be a great thing for his body. No state tax. One thing everybody, like Stephen, mentioned. So the money is there.
KING: It's time now for CNN's Hero of the Week. It's a night of heroes, isn't it? She's keeping critically ill patients alive on a wing, a prayer and a full tank of gas. When pilot Kathy Brussard saw people struggling to pay transportation costs to get medical help they needed, while foregoing care all together, she and a group of volunteer pilots and drivers stepped in. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHY BRUSSARD, CNN HERO: When a person gets cancer, they have to deal with the stress, the financial part of it. People lose everything. They will stay home and die. And that's just not acceptable.
My name is Kathy Brussard. I started the Houston Ground Angels and we provide free air transportation and free ground transportation for medical patients coming in and out of the Houston area. There's probably 300 people volunteering their car, their gas, time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I see them, they give me hope. They'll tell me, stay there with us, fighting.
BRUSSARD: God has bypassed me in cancer. And if I could help somebody -- and I'm sorry for crying, but if I can help somebody make their life a little better, then that's what it's all about. It's not about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Kathy and her volunteers have completed about 6,000 air and ground missions since 2001. To nominate someone you think is changing the world, go to CNN.com/Heroes. We'll be back with our remaining moments after this.
KING: That was the reaction in Miami when Lebron said that's where he's going. Lebron has just said this about his fans in Cleveland. "The seven years we had were like no other. At the end of the day, I feel awful I'm leaving. I feel worse that I wasn't able to bring an NBA Championship to my city. I hope the fans continue to support me."
You're laughing. You don't think they will?
ARNOLD: It's like a marriage. If you have children with the other person, you will always be -- just like championships. We'll always love Shaq in L.A. because he has three championships.
SALLEY: You don't want to hang around your babies all the time.
KING: John Salley mentioned that Lebron will need -- anybody needs -- it's a five-man game. He will need help in Miami. Here is the ringer who is going to join them. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES: -- too much on this court, because it's a little wet. I don't want you to sprain your ankle or nothing like that.
KING: that's all I need, to get injured.
JAMES: I don't want to mess your NBA career up. So we'll just play -- just shoot a little bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I think he was missing to make me feel good.
KING: Yeah. Dru Joyce, his coach -- do you think Pat Riley will come back to coach him?
JOYCE: It would be great. I think Lebron needs that kind of leadership. So I think it would be a great thing for him, Pat, to come and coach him. As a coach, wow, how could you walk away from that opportunity to be involved at that level, with that kind of talent around you? And to be able to not just take those individual pieces, but then to mesh them into a team and a team that could win. That's a great accomplishment.
I don't care how good the players are. When you can take all those different egos and all that talent, and then make it a team, that's what coaching is all about.
KING: Steven, do you think Pat Riley will come down and coach?
SMITH: That remains to be seen. I want to apologize to Sid Rosenberg. I'm here in Albany, New York, hosting an event, and I didn't hear him correctly. So I owe him an apology. To answer your question directly, it's tough because it's best for Pat Riley to be the coach of this team. The problem is that Dwyane Wade loves him as an executive, but he doesn't necessarily really look forward to him as a coach, because Pat Riley is such a task master. He wears and wears on you. And guys want to save their legs for that postseason and things of that nature.
Obviously, he's a five-time world champion. That's what you would prefer. But it's still a tough call for those guys with Pat Riley stepping downstairs to coach again.
KING: Sid, how do you react to the apology from Mr. Smith?
ROSENBERG: I don't know, Larry. I don't feel like it was all that sincere, Stephen A. But in the end, Lebron James made a very cowardly decision. Again, I have a lot to gain by being in Miami, because I get to cover him every single day. But a very cowardly decision. Quickly, here is a Knick fan right here. Tell them how you feel, Jason.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's disappointing. I'm upset. I think he made the wrong decision. New York is the place he should be.
ROSENBERG: Agreed. Larry, thank you for bringing me on. Steven A., you know I love you, buddy. All the best, Stephen A.
KING: Dru Joyce, his first high school basketball coach, John Salley, Steven A. Smith in Albany, Tom Arnold --
SALLEY: Future host of this show.
KING: See you July 30th.
ARNOLD: That's right.
KING: Another revelation tonight. And he will be at the Comedy Festival in San Bernardino. And Rick Fox, the current star of Spike TV's "Hoes Versus Joes". Great Lady with us tomorrow night, Queen Latifah. Time now for Dr. Sanjay Gupta and "AC 360." Sanjay?