Saturday Sports: LeBron James, Serena Williams
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Time for sports.
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SIMON: And I got to get a grip on myself. LeBron James is now a free agent - oh, Believeland (ph) - and Serena Williams back at Wimbledon. ESPN The Magazine's senior writer Howard Bryant joins us. Good morning, Howard.
HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. How are you?
SIMON: How do you think I am? LeBron James is up and out of the final year with the Cavaliers.
BRYANT: So Cleveland doesn't rock anymore.
SIMON: Cleveland always rocks, my friend, OK? But that being said, they might have to do without LeBron. However, I don't know if you've seen it this morning - video of his 13-year-old dunking in a - like, a middle school game. I would tell the Cavs, sign the younger James now. What happens now? Does LeBron just let the offers roll in?
BRYANT: Well, of course, he does. And I think that what we're looking at right now is him heading to the sunny skies of Los Angeles. That's where it seems to be. That's where it's always been forecast that he was going to go. Maybe the Houston Rockets get involved and create another super team with James Harden and Chris Paul. And Chris Paul's one of his best friends as well. That could be a possibility. Maybe he goes to Philadelphia and joins that young core with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
But what we do know is that the NBA right now is based on two things. One, can anybody beat the Golden State Warriors? And two, it seems to be the way to go is to have these superstars join forces like the Justice League or the Avengers or something. And that's what they do now.
And so I think that - the way I look at this, Scott - I remember when we went through this when LeBron went to Miami, and there were burning of his jerseys and everything else. But I think we're going to view it a little differently now. I just see this as mission accomplished. There was a good story when he left Miami and came home. He won a championship, the only championship that that city has had in forever. And so it's time for his new chapter. I'm interested in seeing what he decides to do.
SIMON: For what it means, I was at I guess the third finals game in Cleveland. And it was obvious by the third quarter which way the score and which way the series was going to go. And everyone I talked to around me said, you know, he's earned the right to do whatever he wants. He loves this town. He's done a lot for this town. Whatever he decides is fine with us.
BRYANT: Well, absolutely. I think that's a good way to end the tale of LeBron James and Cleveland. And I think that he has earned that right. And I think that now he's going to have a chance to do something if he goes to the Lakers or if he goes - wherever he goes, unless it's Miami, that he's going to be - he's going have an opportunity to be the first player in the history of the NBA to win championships with three different teams as the No. 1 guy. We know that Robert Horry has won championships with three teams. But to be a superstar player, to be the main guy to take it to two different - you know, Wilt Chamberlain did it with two teams. But it's really difficult. It's really difficult to do. We haven't seen it.
SIMON: Wimbledon - Serena Williams is back. She was ranked number one in the world, paused to have a family. Where is she now?
BRYANT: Well, Serena's going to Wimbledon right now. And she's going to be ranked 25th even though she's 183rd in the world because she had a child. And there's a lot of people who are upset about this, that she shouldn't - that she doesn't deserve her ranking because she took time off. But I agree with the Wimbledon committee when they decided that, look; you should not be penalized for having a child. And that being the case that they've changed the rules - even though the French Open didn't do it - I hope that the U.S. Open does the same thing and creates this precedent that if you're injured, that's one thing. But if you have a baby, I don't think that you should lose your standing, especially when you're the greatest player in the world.
SIMON: Yeah. They never demoted Pete Sampras for having a baby, did they?
SIMON: I've got to check that. Howard Bryant of ESPN, thanks so much for being with us, my friend. Talk to you later.
BRYANT: My pleasure.
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