The Rewind

New York Knicks Rebooted The Sopranos To Tempt LeBron James

New York Knicks Rebooted The Sopranos To Tempt LeBron James

For several years in the build-up to the end of LeBron James's contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2010, the New York Knicks had been working furiously to convince James to sign with them.

Those efforts included the creation of a video to pitch the Knicks and the city of New York to James.

In a new podcast, 'Shattered: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks', hosted by rapper Chuck D, it's revealed that the beginning of that video saw James Gandolfini and Edie Falco reprise their roles as Tony and Carmela Soprano.

The pitch video was shot by Jonathan Hock, director of 30 for 30 documentaries like 'Unguarded'. The clip featuring Gandolfini and Falco has never been seen by the wider public.

"I absolutely remember doing it," said Falco.

"What's even more amazing to me is I absolutely remember that I didn't know who LeBron James was.

"We'd get these requests all the time. Jim Gandolfini, he did nothing, but somehow he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by.

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"Even just to do interviews about the show, Jim wasn't having it. To ask us to reprise the characters, nobody had the audacity. They probably knew there was no way in hell that Jim would do it. I thought it was a prank when someone said, 'Jim's going to do it'."

The video was shot in Gandolfini's Tribeca apartment. The premise of the scene was that they were friends of James who were helping him find a place to live.

Gandolfini, who died in 2013, suggested that for the clip, Tony Soprano should be in the witness protection programme. The Sopranos had finished three years earlier with the fate of the main character left uncertain.

"There we were dressed as our characters, and I remember thinking, 'This can't possibly be happening'," said Falco.

"Jim was into this. He was really into this. There he was dressed as Tony and he was like, 'What if I came over this way?'

"I guess he must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realised."

The Knicks' efforts were in vain. James signed with the Miami Heat.

See Also: From Offaly To Guarding Michael Jordan: The Story Of Ireland's Only NBA Player

PJ Browne
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