About Last Night: The Legend of LeBron
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here’s what you missed in sports on Thursday.
- LeBron James is a remorseless assassin, his own secret society, the ultimate trump card, the French connection and the Spanish main, a beautiful mind, the spirit of the eagle, a healer of souls, a printer of money, the first banana republic, the last crusade, a certified doctor of mojo, an honorary doctor of funk, and an honest-to-god NBA champion. And that’s all I have to say about that.
- The NFL denied accusations that it covered up retractions by witnesses in its bounty investigation of the Saints. Oh, wait, that’s not all I have to say about that. It’s time you know the true story of LeBron.
- APRIL 1945. BERLIN, GERMANY, THE FUHRERBUNKER. Last days of WWII. Deep in the underground, Hitler and his men cackle as the war rages above them. “Nobody can ever find us!” they shout. Bad news, Hitler: LeBron shows up at the door. “Halt! You cannot enter!” says one Nazi, drawing his miniature Nazi gun. LeBron is unarmed, but it doesn’t matter. Spin move, hesitation, crossover. Slight elbow to the kidney, ref looks the other way. Bullets fly, but LeBron is too fast. Himmler tries to take a charge, but he’s in the restricted area. LeBron rages through 15 bunker rooms until he finds Hitler, trembling in a corner. “Do the right thing!” says LeBron, tossing him a pistol. But Hitler is a coward, and decides to shoot LeBron instead. He smirks his Hitler smirk just before pulling the trigger. But LeBron knew his man, and had rigged it to shoot backward. No more Hitler. Eva Braun? Cheering despite herself. She rushes over, but LeBron brushes her aside. “I don’t date Nazis,” he says, breaking her spirit forever. On his way out, Himmler tries and fails to take another charge.
- Cristiano Ronaldo scored on a beautiful header to give Portugal a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic and a berth in the Euro 2012 semifinals.
- RUSSIA, PRESENT DAY. A park bench on the street. It’s a gloomy day, everyone wearing black coats, gray Soviet apartment buildings rising in the background, pigeons wandering up and down the street. One old man sits down beside another and peers at the Cyrillic headline on his paper. Translation: LeBron Wins Title. The man’s face stiffens. “No!” he whispers. “The man who finished Stalin. Only I remain alive from that awful day! Only I can tell the truth and revive the Soviet empire!” The first man slowly folds his paper. “It has been many years, Ivan Nikolayevich, and I see your famous memory has not faded with age.” He removes his mask: LEBRON F***ING JAMES. “Make this easy on me, would you, comrade?” he whispers. The man, stunned silent with fear, nods and makes himself die.
- In a profanity-laced tirade, Red Sox slugger David Ortiz criticized the media for stirring up drama in the Red Sox clubhouse. “It’s starting to become the shithole that it used to be,” he said. Meanwhile, the Sox completed a sweep of the Marlins with a 6-5 win.
- BOSTON, 1773. “We shall dress up like natives and strongly urge the British to take their tea back to Britain!” says Samuel Adams. Only one man dissents. “To hell with that,” says a man wearing a strange sleeveless tunic with a flaming basketball on its front. “I’m going to dress up like LeBron g***amn James and throw the tea where it belongs: in the harbor!” “Hurrah!” the people shout, “though we’ll probably still dress up like natives, if that’s cool with you.”
- Rays reliever Joel Peralta was suspended for eight games after being caught with pine tar on the inside of his glove. In his final game before the suspension, Washington’s Danny Espinosa hit a game-winning two-run double off Peralta in the sixth, giving the Nationals a 5-2 win.
- YEAR INFINITY, BATTLEFIELD BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL. “Lucifer is gaining ground!” says the Archangel Michael in a panic. “He has too many angels, and they really seem like they don’t want to go to hell. All is lost.” Suddenly, a large man breaks through their front lines. “Anyone like Frisbee?” he asks, before dumping 50 halos on the ground in front of them. The angels weep in gratitude, and Michael says, “There’s a spot for you in heaven.” LeBron laughs and shakes his head. “Heaven’s for people who die.”
- Arizona beat Florida State 10-3 to advance to the finals of the College World Series, where they’ll meet South Carolina or Arkansas.
- ARKANSAS, 2005. The ivory-billed woodpecker, a.k.a. the Lord God Bird, is spotted for the first time since 1944. Everyone thought the bird was extinct, but the evidence is there — a heavenly apparition in the trees, swooping from branch to branch, glorious and rare. I don’t think I have to tell you who that bird was.
- Quintin Berry’s walk-off single in the 10th inning gave the Tigers a 2-1 win over the Cardinals.
- CHINA, 7TH CENTURY B.C. Mongolian hordes are sacking the Chinese nation, making life hell for the people. In desperation, the emperor turns to LeBron James. “If you laid down across our border, our nation would be unimpeachable and we would finally have peace. We’ll pay you all the treasure you could ever want, and give you everything you desire.” LeBron takes three minutes to think about it, still his longest decision-making process to date, before shaking his head. “I don’t lay down for no man,” he says. “Better build yourself a damn wall.”
- Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes hit a walk-off three-run bomb to complete an unlikely three-game sweep of the Dodgers with a 4-1 win.
- PANAMA, 1904. “We’re desperate, LeBron,” says Teddy Roosevelt, staring at the impenetrable jungle before him. “Malaria, heat, the unions … it’s all working against us. Perhaps the dream is dead.” LeBron stares into the trees, does some mental math, and turns back to Roosevelt. “I’m going to need one shovel, and one James Harden.” When he receives both, he stands behind James Harden, mean-mugging him for a full decade, until a terrified Harden has dug the Panama Canal all by himself. When it officially opens, LeBron takes the first ride from the Atlantic to the Pacific on an old French crane boat called the Alexandre La Valley, on which he installs James Harden as the maidenhead.
- Bryce Harper told reporters that Under Armour will soon begin selling T-shirts bearing the phrase “That’s a clown question, bro,” after he said the words to a Toronto reporter last week.
- ITALY, 1912. The famous Commedia Dell’Arte troupe is performing in Venice, and the renowned clown Pagliacci is clowning everyone. Slowly, though, his crowd disperses. “What is this?” wonders Pagliacci. He wanders over, and sees a strange man performing feats of magic. Pagliacci makes his way to the front of the crowd, where the man is wearing a strange white cotton band around his head. “And now,” yells the mysterious man, “I shall make a flower grow from the palm of my hand.” Pagliacci is front and center, and when the flower is full grown, the man walks over to him. “Smell the flower, Pagliacci.” As he does, a stream of water shoots forth, hitting Pagliacci in the face. “OHHHH SHIT!” yell the Italian people, jumping up and down in excitement. “Dude just clowned Pagliacci. Dude just clowned Pagliacci!“