Booing LeBron James Isn't the Right Decision on Friday Night

Loving these Knicks is the best revenge

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The general consensus seems to be that LeBron James should expect a Cleveland-style reaction from the Garden crowd on Monday night.

    Conventional wisdom is probably correct on this point, but we wish that the thousands jamming the arena took a more enlightened view on the proceedings. Instead of letting loose torrents of boos at the man who stole a chunk of all of our summers with his navel-gazing ESPN special, go the other way and use the night for a full-throated embrace of the Knicks.

    That's what happened on Wednesday night against the Celtics and it was a glorious thing. The Garden hummed and buzzed in a way that we haven't experienced in more than a decade, providing a reminder that there are few places that can compare as hosts to big basketball games.

    This year's Knicks deserve that kind of love, they finally deserve the passion of the fans that have stuck with the team and they are worth a lot more of your time then a guy who wasn't up to the challenge of playing here.

    Such a shortcoming says more about him, anyway. It tells you just about everything you need to know about James that playing in his hometown in front of people who would sacrifice everything they had to make him happy meant less to him than playing second fiddle to Dwyane Wade in front of empty seats and apathetic Floridians. The fact that he also chose not to bathe in the kind of love rained down on Amar'e Stoudemire, Ray Felton, Wilson Chandler and company on Wednesday is just icing on that sad little cake.

    At any rate, it's his loss and not ours. We have a team worth loving. Would it be better with James? Certainly, but we'll wait a bit longer to get there with the guys who want the chance to be stars in a place like New York.

    There's been a bit too much pining for people who weren't up to the task of life in the big city recently. James and Cliff Lee are great players, but let's focus our anger on snubs to the city that really matter. Refusing to consider bills designed to aid those who risked all to save lives on 9/11 is far worthier of our rage and rancor than a guy who chose the path of less resistance, don't you think?

    We're not Cleveland, so don't act like spurned lovers on Friday night. Our basketball love life is just fine, thank you, and let's let everyone know that instead.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.