LeBron arrives at Philips Arena; the media take note

In this May 13, 2015, photo, Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford, right, high-fives fans after the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 82-81 in Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Atlanta. The top-seeded Hawks are hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, May 20, in Atlanta’s first Eastern Conference finals. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

In this May 13, 2015, photo, Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford, right, high-fives fans after the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 82-81 in Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Atlanta. The top-seeded Hawks are hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, May 20, in Atlanta’s first Eastern Conference finals. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

In this May 13, 2015, photo, Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford, right, high-fives fans after the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 82-81 in Game 5 of the second round of the NBA basketball playoffs in Atlanta. The top-seeded Hawks are hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, May 20, in Atlanta’s first Eastern Conference finals. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

He has been in a big game or two himself, you know. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Here’s how you know it’s the Eastern Conference finals and the world’s most famous player is on one of the teams: At 10:20 a.m. — more than 10 hours before Game 1 was set to tip — camera crews were jockeying for position to record the epic moment when LeBron James …

Walked down the hall.

The gaggle in the Cavaliers’ locker room for pre-shootaround LeBron access was like Super Bowl Media Day. (OK, Super Bowl Media Day for an offensive lineman. Nothing trumps that monstrosity for excess.) Standing on the periphery, here’s what I gleaned.

LeBron said, “I’m ready to play.”

LeBron also said, “The guys are ready to play.”

For LeBron, who’s Ready To Play in his seventh Eastern finals, this is the oldest hat on the dustiest shelf. For the Atlanta Hawks, this is all new. But it’s not so new they’re apt to be fazed by the bright lights. They’ve played on TV before. They’ve played against LeBron before. The setting is new. The sport is not. It’s still basketball.

Once, when the Heat (with LeBron) came to town, I asked Al Horford if he got a tiny bit nervous before such a game. He nearly laughed out loud. Pro athletes might get excited, but they rarely get nervous. This is their job. They do this all the time.

This was Cavs coach David Blatt, speaking of the difference in styles between his team and the Hawks: “What works is what’s right. Both teams are in the Eastern Conference finals, so what we’ve done must be working. I hope we’ll continue to do what we do — and do it just a little bit better than them.”

Blatt’s ready. LeBron’s ready. I’m ready. You’re ready. Let’s play. First team to wins four gets an all-expenses-paid trip to Oakland.

Further reading: 5 (of 14) ESPN experts pick the Hawks over the Cavs.

Still further: Who’s more miserable — Atlanta or Cleveland?

Further still: A few more reasons why the Hawks will beat the Cavs.

Even further:  Even against LeBron, it’ll be the Hawks in 7.

One more: From Cleveland.com, here’s an intriguing look at the Cavs, the Hawks and the series from the esteemed Bill Livingston. (Warning: I’m mentioned a time or two.)

Reader Comments 0

62 comments
COPYWRITE
COPYWRITE

lebron aint sh** the hawks are to deep, you will see in a few

playmeortrademe
playmeortrademe

Media also knows.  E$PN Grantland basically pointed out all the ways the Hawks will slice up the Cavs offensively and then proceeded to pick the Cavs in 6.  Really?  You spent how many words identifying ways the Hawks are superior and pick Cleveland to win 4-2, meaning they steal one in Atlanta and the better Hawks team can't get one in Cleveland?  It will be a pleasant surprise if the Hawks somehow don't get screwed in this series.

playmeortrademe
playmeortrademe

The Rockets blew some opportunities, but the calls in Warriors/Rockets game last night seemed to be titled ever so slightly toward the W's,  especially that crazy moving screen by Green that wasn't called.  You can expect that in this series, and not in favor of the Hawks.  The people who set the lines at Vegas aren't fools. They know the NBA's bread is buttered by a Curry/LeBron finals.

Jim70
Jim70

I thought LeBron was a punk in high school.  After watching the Olympics in Greece where he sat on the bench and was the biggest cheerleader, I liked him.  Then with his I can't breathe tee shirt, against him again.   Regardless, been a hawks fan since the 60's when I would listen to them on the radio while at tech when they has silas, hudson, beatty of the ones I can remember.


Stick to LeBron and guard him so he can't breathe.  Go hawk's 

Runner508
Runner508

An article in the media lamenting the media's obsession with LeBron. So meta.

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

For all the pathetic sports history in this state our teams seem to fare well against teams from Ohio. The Braves only title in 5 WS trips came against the Indians- how they managed to lose the other 4 still perplexes me to this day.  UGA can't ever beat any SEC team of significance when it counts but does have a stellar bowl record against Ohio State.   I have hope that the Hawks will prevail in this series.  I'd feel much less confident if it were a team from anywhere else.  

GloryBetweenTheHedges
GloryBetweenTheHedges

First team to wins four gets an all-expenses-paid trip to Oakland.

I wouldn't count the Rockets out just yet.

Falcons4Eva
Falcons4Eva

Very Well Said Mark! 


Let's Go Hawks!

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

Cleveland and Atlanta are 2 cities that have had very little sports success so this one should be interesting. Atlanta should be the better team, but we know what little that means. Before the season I would not have thought either of these teams would be in the  conference finals so they have both exceeded expectations.

Mutley
Mutley

Someone call the soothsayer immediately and tell them to please lift the sports curse that haunts Atlanta and all of Georgia.

Mutley
Mutley

All of Georgia. There have been no sports championships of any kind in 20yrs. Ohio has fared better.

Dribble
Dribble

LeBro is gonna get to enjoy his summer a little early this year. 

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

Here we go, LaBron, LaBron, LaBron, LaBron and from our own sports writer. Do us a favor Bradley either retire are move to where someone gives a crap about what you have to say.

oledawg
oledawg

@SomewherenSGa  So you just read his article but you don't care what he has to say? Go figure!

bpgt
bpgt

Welcome to the Lion's Den, LeBron.  We may be the 1 seed but we feel like underdogs.  That is a bad recipe for you.  Let's bring the noise Hawks fans!

Rxdawg03
Rxdawg03

Maybe we feel that way cause we are...

GWJ0525
GWJ0525

@bpgt  we could borrow Arthur Blank's crowd noise pump if needed

movebob
movebob

better team? not sure, better record? yes

Go Cavs!

movebob
movebob

@CowbellHell too many variables for blanket statements! Either way I'm looking forward to a great series, 

We'll be lucky if it's 1/2 as good as the west. Go Cavs!

cspecial
cspecial

THE HAWKS ARE THE BETTER TEAM.LETS GO HAWKS!

cspecial
cspecial

watch for a conspiracy by the league to let lebron james do what he wants to.if joey crqawford and his crew officiates, this will definitely happen.there"s rules for every player except james who is allowed to do what he wants to which isn"t fair.this should not be allowed.the hawks are the better team but the league is trying to get a story line for james so he can be michael jordon.hawks coaches, fans and officials should watch for this

Dasdguy
Dasdguy

Oakland..! really? WTH's in Oakland?

skeeterN
skeeterN

I've got a bad feeling that the officials will factor heavy in ths series.  If they allow LeBull to plow down the middle like Larry Csonka (sp?), well...................

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

@skeeterN  Why should they stop now they have the NBA has already proved they did that in the first 2 series.

Decaturian
Decaturian

just in LBJ just changed into some slippers and a Mr. Rogers style cardigan and confirmed he is still ready...

WW5
WW5

did any of the sports writers wet their pants upon king james arrival??

MV7
MV7

I'm so f'in sick of hearing about LeBron.  We will sweep these clowns

JImmy4God
JImmy4God

I pray that the team with the fewest tattoos (ie., fewest thugs) wins the title...

oledawg
oledawg

@JImmy4God  Pretty sure there will be some people that had tattoos make it to heaven.  Not sure what God you are for?

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

@oledawg @SomewherenSGa @PantherWin @JImmy4God  I know that but he has nothing to do with Basketball Uh.....this is basketball unless you to old to notice...Oh yeah you missed  few of my comments make sure you reply to them if you  don't I won't feel the Love

Addy
Addy

"....paid trip to Oakland." 


So you are already assuming GSW makes it to the finals ???

DrGonzo
DrGonzo

@Addy I hope. I'm not sure we match up well against Houston...

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

I think if Jason Terry was a little bit younger and had fresher legs the Rockets would of beat the Warriors last night, and could of taken the series.  Instead he goes 0-4 for 3's.. and they barely loose.  


Go Hawks... Hawks in 5 or 7