Earlier this week, Newsday’s Shaun Powell openly lobbied for Knicks fans to blatantly smooch the royal rear of LeBron James when the Cavs came to MSG on Tuesday evening, a stance the Akron Beacon-Journal’s George Thomas doesn’t quite compare to this New Yorker cover, but could very well have done so.

I™ll willingly acknowledge that James™ leaving is a distinct possibility.  But those words written by Mr. Powell just rip with arrogance.  You see, it will only be special if he wins a championship in New York and shake up the NBA in the process.  To that statement I have but one question:  What™s been special about playing hoops in New York for the past decade.  I know the rep of street ball, yadda, yadda and yadda.

But when I think of the NBA™s legacy of the past 30 years I tend to think of Bird, Magic, Kareem, Dr. J and, of course, one Michael Jordan.  Removing Dr. J for a moment, the majority of the banners fly in the rafters of arenas in Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago.  As a long-suffering Browns™ fan, I understand a city that views itself as the capital of basketball longing for a championship.  But in some respects, it sounds as if New Yorkers believe it is a right.

Thomas has a point, though it wasn’t Powell who suggested James might someday wanna be the World’s richest human. LeBron’s already achieved global icon status while toiling in Ohio (as did David Thomas!), but this might ultimately be less about NYC marketing advantages and more to do with whatever supporting cast Danny Ferry can surround his megastar with.  Much of the rampant James-to-the-Knicks speculation includes endless drooling over who’d play the part of Scottie Pippen to James’ Michael Jordan.  I didn’t care for the tone of Powell’s column either, but there’s nothing arrogant about looking over the numbers and concluding the Knicks might have a better shot at recruiting D-Wade, Amare Stoudemire or Chris Bosh in 2010 than the Cavaliers.