The LeBron James press gaggle, which happens daily before games and after practices, has a tendency to be amazingly dull. Unlike the rest of the Cavaliers, who reporters can approach in the locker room and corner individually after practice, James does all of his talking at once each day, and for obvious reason: if he didn’t, he’d never get his shorts on. But with the hoard of beat writers and TV guys hovering around him, the conversation almost always meanders toward the Obvious Storyline of the Day – how his (insert ailing body part) is feeling, what the team needs to do to stop (insert next opponent), how his general awesomeness is progressing, and so on. And because reporters have been following James since not long after he dribble-drove out his way out of the womb, he’s pretty much fluent in Vague Athletic Platitude-ese. ...
Occasionally, though, the conversation will slip to a topic James hasn’t rehearsed, and that’s when it can get amusing. ...
That happened tonight, before the Cavs, behind a near triple-double from James and an out-of-body performance from Ira Newble
, outlasted the Celtics in Cleveland. During James' pre-game gaggle, a reporter mentioned that the Celtics had recently gotten into it with the Knicks
, and wondered if James thought the Celtics were among the league’s more prolific trash talkers. James considered it momentarily, as if he was mentally running through the league in search of the most motoring mouths.
“They’re up there,” he said finally, grinning, and he went on, as if he had given the topic much thought. “You look at them and the Pistons – they’re the two teams. They talk, but they back it up.”
The reporter, like reporters tend to do for reasons my selfish ass can’t figure, tried to bail him out, asking this follow up: “In a hostile or a competitive way?”
LeBron, no doubt thankful for the multiple-choice lifeline, made the obvious pick: “In a competitive way.” But then he kept talking. “Sometimes it can get annoying. But they back it up. I mean, Detroit, we all know that they get fly at the mouth sometimes, but they play great basketball. And the same with the Celtics. At times they can get fly with the mouth. That’s not what I do. That’s not what our team is about. But you go out and win ball games, you can do what you want to do.”
“Who’s the quietest team?” another reporter chimed in. “Who doesn’t say anything?”
“Who’s the quietest team?” LeBron repeated. “Utah. They just kick your ass and they don’t say nothin’.” -- Joe P. Tone