Af­ter LeBron tries to claim Ap­ple throne on In­sta­gram, Kan­ter coun­ters: No you ain’t!

New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

LEBRON JAMES’ lat­est claim to a throne is be­ing chal­lenged. Why? Ac­cord­ing to a team­mate, Kristaps Porzingis is al­ready the King of New York. In an­other act of so­cial me­dia pet­ti­ness, James posted a photo of him­self Tues­day morn­ing stand­ing on the Knicks logo with a cap­tion that read, “You’re wel­come. … (Crown emoji) of New York.” The im­pli­ca­tion was ob­vi­ous: James beat the Knicks a night ear­lier, largely by him­self with a vir­tu­oso fourth quar­ter, and now he rules the Gar­den. Enes Kan­ter, pre­dictably, wasn’t hav­ing it. “We’ve al­ready got a king — it’s Kristaps Porzingis,” Kan­ter told re­porters Tues­day. “Sorry about that.” While it’s pre­ma­ture to dub Porzingis the king of any­thing (can he win a play­off game be­fore the corona­tion?), it’s more in­sult­ing for James to make the claim as a tourist. But James meant to pro­voke with his In­sta­gram post. That was his sole pur­pose. A few hours later, James tweeted out a video of his painted face su­per­im­posed on the Joker’s body, walk­ing away from an ex­plod­ing build­ing that bore the Knicks logo. It was lifted from a scene in a Bat­man movie, and James sug­gested he got a big kick out of it by post­ing ac­com­pa­ny­ing laugh­ing emoji faces. For the last four days, he has been go­ing back-and-forth with the Knicks - and Kan­ter, in par­tic­u­lar - as the in­sults es­ca­lated and spilled onto the court. It pin­na­cled in the first quar­ter of Mon­day’s game, when rookie Frank Nti­lik­ina shoved James and Kan­ter came run­ning over for a face-to-face shout­ing match. Both James and Kan­ter were as­sessed tech­ni­cal fouls. From the Knicks’ per­spec­tive, the mo­ment was widely viewed as pos­i­tive — a sign that they’d fight back against the player who pub­licly in­sulted Nti­lik­ina two nights prior. But by the end, the Knicks had given up a 23-point lead and lost be­cause James dom­i­nated Porzingis in the fourth quar­ter. It rep­re­sented yet an­other re­mark­able per­for­mance from James at the Gar­den, which feeds into his ‘King of New York’ in­sult. He has won eight straight games there dat­ing back to 2014. Over the 27 to­tal games — which in­cludes two 50-point per­for­mances — he has av­er­aged 28.4 points, 7.1 as­sists and 6.9 re­bounds while shoot­ing 50 per­cent. On Mon­day, he fell a re­bound short of a triple-dou­ble with 23 points and 12 as­sists. Of course, James had an op­por­tu­nity to join the Knicks as a free agent in 2010 but chose South Beach in­stead. So like Kobe Bryant and Michael Jor­dan be­fore him, James just ar­rives at MSG once or twice a year as a mo­ti­vated vis­i­tor.

Dwyane Wade re­vealed last sea­son that — de­spite meet­ing with the Knicks — nei­ther he nor LeBron were ever se­ri­ous about sign­ing.

New York re­mains a great place to visit, not to play pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Maybe Porzingis can change that.

“They just wasn’t pre­pared. They wasn’t ready to take on what we wanted to do,” Wade said on The Ver­ti­cal pod­cast. “The city? Yeah, the city was ready. The mar­ket? The mar­ket was there. It’s New York. But (from) an or­ga­ni­za­tion stand­point, we didn’t feel like they could han­dle it.

“At this point in our ca­reer, this is the prime of our ca­reer. This is the meat of it. This de­ci­sion is go­ing to make or break your ca­reer, and we re­ally had to make a de­ci­sion where it re­ally made sense. And Mi­ami, the struc­ture was there for us. It worked out. But when you talk about mar­kets and ci­ties, Chicago and New York is the big­gest that we was reach­ing out to. But it was never some­thing that we was se­ri­ous (about).”

Porzingis, mean­while, has a larger sam­ple size at the Gar­den, and has played bet­ter in those con­tests com­pared to those on the road. In 75 games at home, Porzingis av­er­aged 18.3 points, 2.2 blocks and 7.2 re­bounds while shoot­ing 47 per­cent.

He’s also only 22 years old — 10 younger than LeBron - which makes Porzingis more of a prince than a king at this point.

JAZZ vs. KNICKS 7:30 on MSG

Lebron James trolls Knicks with In­sta­gram post pro­claim­ing him­self the King of New York af­ter drilling dag­ger in 104-101 win at Gar­den Mon­day night.

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