Chris Rock x Scott Raab: The LeBron Conversation
SCOTT RAAB: I’m writing a book about LeBron. I’m a Cleveland guy. I’m mad at him.
CHRIS ROCK: I don’t even see what the big story is. The owner’s an idiot. Why is the owner an idiot? I said it on television — you can look it up. I was at a Lakers game — they were probably playing the Knicks. It was on TNT, and Kenny and Mark Jackson and whoever interviewed me on the sidelines, they asked me about LeBron. I said, “They should trade him.” I said it, on national television.
SR: We thought he was coming back, Chris.
CR: I said you should trade him. I said any owner, any big-ego owner would take this shot. You could’ve got any player — you literally could’ve got Kobe Bryant. You could’ve got any player you wanted. You could’ve gotten literally any player outside of Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. Any player. You could’ve got any two or three players you liked. I said this on national television. You could look it up — you’re a writer.
I said that in the middle of the season. The day the season was over, I was doing press for Grown Ups, the movie I did with Sandler. They asked me again: “Where’s LeBron going? What’s going to happen?” I said, “Well, if he’s going to Cleveland, you will know within 24 hours, but if Pat Riley gets him in a room, it’s all over.”
SR: We thought he was coming back.
CR: Why would you think he’s coming back? People move from Cleveland to Miami every fucking day. They don’t move from Miami to Cleveland.
SR: Because of his mother. Because of Gloria.
CR: Well, guess where his mother’s living right now. In fucking Miami. I saw that coming a mile away. Are you kidding me? He’s not signing his extension? Trade him right now.
SR: He signed for the three years. They all did — he and Bosh and Wade.
CR: He didn’t realize it? He’s an idiot — the owner’s an idiot. You’re in Cleveland, dude.
SR: You’re killing me, man. You’re killing me.
CR: It’s Cleveland, man. And I’m not disparaging Cleveland.
SR: Yes, you are.
CR: I’ve had some great shows in Cleveland.
CR: But… I’m 25 — whatever LeBron is — and even though he’s got a baby mama, he’s not married.
SR: Savannah’s more than just a baby mama.
SR: She’s down there.
CR: God bless her. Who didn’t see this guy going to Miami?
SR: We didn’t see him going to Miami.
CR: How did I see it?
SR: Because you have enough distance. Did you think he was coming here?
CR: New York’s a weird — New York can intimidate people. New York intimidated everybody except Donnie Walsh, and it’s still…
SR: Amar’e’s doing fine.
CR: [Knicks president] Donnie Walsh said, “Well, we’re losing already; why not lose for four more years and clear up some cap space?” He’s the only guy that it didn’t intimidate. New York intimidated [owner James] Dolan and Isaiah — it intimidates everybody. I never thought he was coming here.
SR: New Jersey had the Russian billionaire and Jay-Z, and they left and here comes Donnie on his walker. You know about all this?
CR: I have inside information. He wasn’t coming here. He went to Miami. I don’t understand why —
SR: I’ve been down there three times — I get the part about, it’s beautiful, the women are unbelievable.
CR: It’s Miami. Dude, they’re on the fucking beach right now.
SR: He tweeted that he was up watching Poetic Justice this morning.
CR: Dude, they’re on the beach right now, in fucking sandals. And by the way, most people from Cleveland would do the exact same thing — would move to Miami at the drop — dude, I’m 45, I’m tired of the fucking winter.
SR: It’s hard to believe you’re 45.
CR: I’m tired of the fucking winter.
SR: You look excellent for 45.
CR: Winter is like — thank you.
SR: But isn’t winter enlivening, too?
CR: Parts of it are, yeah. But to be that young, and to be…
SR: Young, gifted, black, rich.
CR: To be that young, and that gifted — why wouldn’t you go to Miami? I mean, I wish he’d have went to the Clippers, to tell you the truth.
SR: Why the Clippers?
CR: Because he’d have got his weather, and he could’ve really had his team. The whole him and Wade thing is a little odd to me.
SR: They seem to have worked it out nicely.
CR: They seem to be fine.
SR: They’re playing great ball right now.
CR: They are playing great ball.
SR: There was a bit of a mutiny, but apparently Riley had Spoelstra’s back. LeBron’s people floated stuff to Chris Broussard about how players felt that maybe Spoelstra wasn’t the right guy. I was hoping they would dump Spoelstra and hand the keys to LeBron like they did in Cleveland. Didn’t happen.
CR: Because Wade actually has an interesting — he won a championship with Riley, and he lost 60 games with Riley. Wade doesn’t feel like practicing like that ever again in his life.
SR: He does not want to play for Pat Riley.
CR: No. He loves Pat Riley, he takes Pat Riley’s money, but he does not want to play for Pat Riley. And LeBron thinks he wants to play for Pat Riley.
SR: He does not want to play for Pat Riley.
CR: On the other hand, they’d win the championship with Pat Riley as coach.
SR: I think they’re going to do all right with Spoelstra. They’re playing great defense, and they’re having fun on O.
CR: Really? That shocked everybody — that he left?
SR: Yes. It did. Up to the day — up to July 8, I had people calling me from the organization calling me, saying, “Don’t worry — it’s just LeBron being LeBron. He’s got everyone where he wants them.” They believed right up to that day, they did.
CR: I knew he was gone. I knew he was gone. Look it up.
SR: I don’t question that.
CR: I’m like, get anything. Were they playing the Nets? I said, get Brook Lopez and Devin Harris and two picks — anything’s better than losing him to nothing.
SR: They got shitty picks. They wound up doing a sign-and-trade, and they got shitty picks from Miami.
CR: They should’ve took what’s-his-name. They were so devastated, they should’ve took…
SR: Beasley. Apparently they didn’t even want him. Beasley can play.
CR: Beasley looks good right now. Beasley looks really good.
SR: And the Cavs have laid down and died.
CR: That’s the biggest shock, actually. I thought they were a playoff team.
SR: And for five months, all they heard was how shitty they were, and how he had to leave Cleveland to win.
CR: You’ve got to realize this, too: The Cleveland Cavaliers last year, when you look at the playoffs, when you look at the final eight teams, they had the worst team.
SR: But no one picked the Celtics to come out of the East.
CR: You take Kevin Garnett out of the Celtics, they’re still a playoff team. You take Dwight Howard off of fucking Orlando, they’re still a playoff team. You take LeBron James off of the Cleveland Cavaliers, they’re a lottery team.
SR: I shouldn’t have even started this. I’m going to start crying.
CR: I said this last year — these aren’t real pieces they’re putting around him. Mo Williams is B.J. Armstrong. He’s not Scottie Pippen. He’s B.J. Armstrong. He’s not Scottie Pippen. Scottie Pippen is in the Hall of Fame.
SR: And Shaq wasn’t doing what he’s doing this year with Boston.
CR: Shaq’s doing exactly what he was doing — he’s just getting in the way.
SR: But they’re getting him the ball late in their offense rather than trying to force it in.
CR: That, too, but please — if the Knicks had Shaq right now, they’d have won four more games, just because they have nobody in the middle.
SR: Well, I’ve learned to like Miami, and I can’t dispute a word you’re saying. As much as I would like to.
CR: I would bet — I would’ve liked to have seen him stay, just for basketball. I think it’s good for the sport, and for the town. I mean, Cleveland’s not a minor market.
SR: When I was a kid, it was one of the top ten cities.
CR: Cliff Lee, and Sabathia — it’s weird.
SR: Cleveland suffers. It’s a miserable sports town. It’s brutal.
CR: It’s the weather, dude. I mean, it shouldn’t matter that much to LeBron — you do play inside — but right now they’re outside. His kids are literally outside. But he was wrong — you don’t break up with your girlfriend on TV.