It might turn out that May is the cruelest month.
Could the reign of Sid “The Kid” Crosby and the defending champion Penguins end in what would be the finale at The Igloo in Game 7 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens?
And what of the would-be King, LeBron James, whose lifeless, lackluster effort against the Boston Celtics at Quickens Loans last night in Game 5 has the Cleveland Cavaliers and perhaps his time as Ohio’s favorite son on the brink.
Executives at the NHL and the NBA and their network partners at Versus and NBC and ESPN, ABC and TNT have to be worried that the young faces and Nielsen torchbearers of pucks and hoops might be going home weeks before the calendar turns into June.
Granted, the alternatives are royalty.
But while Les Habitants are the New York Yankees of the NHL, their Canadian kingdom doesn’t encompass the No. 1 DMA. For that matter, Montreal doesn’t count among the Nielsens.
In the realm of Sir Stern, the Big 3 and Boston’s current prince Rajon Rondo certainly bring followers borne of 17 titles. But an Orlando-Boston battle for Eastern Conference supremacy doesn’t have the allure of a James Gang rematch against the Magic, to say nothing of a potential Finals encounter with fellow Nike puppet master Kobe Bryant and his court of defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
Should the Penguins get iced in The Igloo, Crosby (for now) has one Stanley Cup title and an Olympic, overtime gold medal-winning goal against the U.S. on his mantle, a pedigree that will forever cement his legacy in Canada and beyond.
The legacy of James, as the two-time MVP and the best baller on the planet, on the other hand, could ring hollow in his hometown of Akron and elsewhere (say MSG) if he and his injured elbow air ball Game 6 on May 13.
You know the Black Mamba, Air Jordan and Larry Legend wouldn’t let their teams go down without leaving everything on the court.
Time to just do it in Beantown, LeBron, or be remembered as just another pretender to the throne.