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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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LeBron James On Madison Square Garden: "My Absolute Favorite Playground"

LeBron James once again shone at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 113-105 win over the New York Knicks. James has spoken on numerous occasions about how much he loves playing at the Garden, and after this game, he called it his favorite playground.

Credit: kingjames/Instagram

In his 32nd game against the Knicks at the Garden, James had 24 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block to lead the Lakers to victory. It was his third straight win at MSG, and LeBron now has a career record of 23-9 at the arena. The 20-time All-Star has averaged 28.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks per game in those 32 outings.

All the greats of the game have had some memorable moments at the Garden, and LeBron has had a fair few too. He had 50 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists, and 4 steals in a 119-105 win for the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 5, 2008.

The following year on February 4, LeBron put up 52 points, 9 rebounds, 11 assists, and 2 blocks to lead the Cavaliers to a 107-102 win. While he loves playing at the Garden, Knicks fans are probably fed up with seeing him beat their team time and time again.

LeBron James Considered Playing For The Knicks

LeBron has switched teams a fair bit during his career and prior to the game against the Knicks, he was asked if he had ever considered joining them.

“During my free agency period in 2010, it was one of the teams that I looked at,” James said. “So I’ve had that thought in my career.”

(starts at 3:44 mark):

LeBron ultimately chose to go to the Miami Heat, with the Knicks landing Amar’e Stoudemire instead. It is interesting to think what might have happened if James had decided back then that New York was where he wanted to be.

Would Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have found a way to go there with him? If they would have, then the Knicks would have been the ones to win multiple championships in the early 2010s. It wasn’t to be, though, and the franchise today continues the search for their first championship since 1973.

The Knicks do seem better positioned to accomplish that goal now than they have been in recent history. They are the fourth seed in the East with a 32-18 record and were on a nine-game winning streak prior to the loss to the Lakers.

The Knicks are certainly a team on the up, but if they are to be serious contenders for the title, they need another star, someone like LeBron. He could be available fairly soon too, as James can be a free agent in the summer if he opts out of his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season. 

If this 2023-24 campaign doesn’t end well for the Lakers, LeBron might be tempted to go elsewhere, and the Knicks would be a good landing spot. They have a talented roster headlined by Jalen Brunson, and he can be the one who helps them get over the line. Stephen A. Smith believes James on the Knicks would guarantee a championship, and while that might be a stretch, they would be one of the favorites. 

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