LeBron James will make his big announcement on Thursday night in prime time, but the out-of-control wooing by NBA teams and the people in their respective cities will no doubt continue until that point.
Celebrity chefs have told James they will cook his first meal in his new city, New York City major Michael Bloomberg made a pitch for him to come to the Knicks, and Betty White asked that he remain in Cleveland.
And what did the Bombers do when backup quarterback Steven Jyles hit the CFL free agent market in February?
“They just called me on the phone and said, ‘Hey, this is what we got on the table. This is what we’re offering, and we’d like to have you here. You’re a good guy, and the coaches are confident in you, and we’d like you to join us.’ I just went from there,” Jyles said.
No videos of famous Winnipeggers pleading him to sign with the Blue and Gold. No special version of the Family Guy cartoon with Jyles and his friends as the characters.
A phone call.
And he did not make his decision to leave Saskatchewan and join Winnipeg live on TSN.
“I should’ve done something like that,” Jyles said with a laugh. “LeBron, he’s a different type of athlete. He’s LeBron. They call him King James for a reason.”
Despite that, Jyles thinks the whole situation has gotten out of hand — especially Thursday’s live saga-ending announcement on ESPN.
“It’s something,” Jyles said. “I never thought somebody would go that far as a free agent. I think it’s a bit too much.
“I’ve never seen anybody do something like that. It draws too much attention to you as an individual and not as the team. Because even if he goes somewhere else, it’s all about LeBron.
“But he is LeBron James.”
Head coach Paul LaPolice said he’s not an NBA guy and hasn’t been paying attention to LeBron, but the coach who’s all about the team had an answer when asked what he would do if a free agent he was chasing wanted to make his announcement on live T.V.
“I would just move on to the next guy,” LaPolice said.
INJURY WATCH: Defensive back Brandon Stewart was back on the practice field Wednesday, which means he’s likely start against the Toronto Argos (0-1) on Friday night.
The other starting halfback, rookie Alex Suber, did not practise for the third straight day due to a hamstring pull, which means he’s doubtful for Friday’s contest.
LaPolice said a player doesn’t have to practise to play, but he would likely have to be a veteran to get on the field.
“If it’s somebody who was a veteran who knows the league, knows what he’s doing and you have a lot of trust factor in, you could insert him,” LaPolice said.
Since Keyuo Craver is out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Clint Kent will likely get the start in Suber’s place. That would be the only change to the starting lineup from last week’s season-opening win over Hamilton.
Receiver Jabari Arthur, who missed last week’s game with a foot injury, will likely sit for a second straight week.
“He’s getting better,” head coach Paul LaPolice said. “Because he was injured in training camp he’s not in great shape. Yesterday he spent some extra time watching film, and I had a great conversation with him. He says, ‘Coach, I just gotta get back into game shape.’
“That’s unfortunate when those guys miss that time in training camp.”
LATE HITS: Argos safety Willie Pile is expected to play on Friday. The former linebacker was doubtful earlier in the week due to a knuckle injury … Here’s Argos defensive tackle Adriano Belli to the Toronto Sun on Bombers quarterback Buck Pierce: “He is just another quarterback. He looks cute in his uniform, and supposedly he has a soft melon, so we will try to get after him.” … Bomber receivers coach Chris Wiesehan will miss Friday’s game for a good reason. He’s getting married on Saturday.