Friday, July 2, 2010

LeBron James stuns fans, switches sports and signs with Maple Leafs

LeBron James holds his new jersey up at a press conference announcing his move to the NHL. The move shocked and confused both hockey and basketball fans.


The high-profile free agency of basketball sensation LeBron James took a strange turn with the surprise announcement that he will be moving to Toronto, not to play for the Raptors of the NBA – but to play instead for the Maple Leafs of the NHL.

James stunned basketball and hockey fans alike with the decision to switch sports and sign the 2-year, $30 million deal with the Maple Leafs, which makes him the highest paid player in the history of hockey. Apparently the Leafs were able to exceed the league salary cap because the cap language only applies to “hockey players,” and the Leafs’ lawyers were successfully able to argue that clause did not apply to James, primarily a basketball player.

James said the money was a draw, but that mainly he just wants something new.

“I’m excited to be taking on something new and exciting with this whole hockey thing,” James said at a press conference at the Rogers Centre in Toronto while eating a bowl of poutine. “I’m kind of tired of basketball, you know? This way I can really be King James and stand out like never before.

“Plus,” he added. “How many of you all have ever lived in Ohio? Seriously? I still think it’s hilarious that anybody thought for a second I might stay in that decaying, Rust Belt hellhole.”

The move puts James in the same category as past two-sport athletes like Bo Jackson (football/baseball), Deion Sanders (football/baseball) and even his idol Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan who had a short, unsuccessful stint playing baseball in the Chicago White Sox farm system.

However, the combination of professional basketball and professional hockey is not common. Reporters at the conference questioned James’ hockey prowess, which he confidently defended.

“Look, it can’t be any harder than playing against guys like Kobe, D-Wayde or Bosh, right?” James asked, referring to other NBA superstars. “I’m sure that once I learn to ice skate, I’m gonna dominate the ice like I dominate the court. The NHL’s not ready for this, but I know I am.”

Fans seemed universally shocked at the move.

“I was really hoping he’d come to the Knicks,” said John Decker of New York City. “I mean, hockey? What the fuck? That’s almost as boring as soccer, and a lot colder to watch in person.”
He did, however, say that he would definitely watch James’ debut on the ice with the Leafs whenever it happens on television.

That is exactly what Toronto Maple Leafs president and general manager Brian Burke wants to hear. He said at the press conference that he was excited about the prospect of increasing the team’s fan base.

“We’ll be reaching a whole new audience with this signing,” Burke said. “LeBron has a strong fan base that we believe will follow him from across the United States to Toronto and from the NBA to the NHL.”

Hockey fans also seem confused and surprised.

“A basketball player lacing up, eh?” said Gordie Melrose, a Leafs fan living in Toronto. “The whole thing sounds like a crazy stunt that probably won’t help the team at all, eh. Did I hear him say in the conference that he doesn’t even know how to skate yet?”
James had been wooed by several NBA teams, but said the perks of living the True North were too much to pass up.

“Loonies, poutine and free healthcare? Sign me up, Canada has always intrigued me” said James. “And no, I never considered the Raptors even if I had wanted to stay in the NBA. If I ever wanted to play amateur ball, I would have gone to college.”

In the end though, James said the decision was really about cementing his place in sports history.

“When you think about it, nobody’s ever done anything quite like this,” James said. “Plus, there has only ever been one famous hockey player, right? Wayne Gretzky, or something like that. I figure once I get settled in I’ll be the king of the whole sport.”

Burke said it was unclear when James would make his debut on the ice for the Leafs, but assured reporters that the team wanted him playing as soon as possible. He did note that James would begin ice skating lessons once the team’s trainers were fully over their Canada Day hangovers.

Also of note, stock for the struggling Versus Network, which airs NHL games, doubled on news of James’ move to hockey, as analysts say it is now slightly more likely that the few Americans with access to the station may watch some of James’ games.
(Note - this is of course completely fake, and written in the style of the Onion... lol)

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