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Bob Ryan: ‘I Think LeBron Stays In Miami’

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SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat calls a play against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

LeBron James (Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

On Monday, July 7, John Feinstein interviewed Peter Gammons and Bob Ryan, two icons who started their careers together.

Gammons, 69, and Ryan, 68, both started at the Boston Globe on June 10, 1968.

“I walked into my first day of work as a summer intern at the Boston Globe, and I met this guy from North Carolina named Peter Gammons,” Ryan said on The John Feinstein Show. “It turned out we had a few things in common.”

Great reporting, for one.

While both are known for their sports work, the first – and only – story the two ever co-wrote had a political component. Gammons and Ryan, who began working the week after Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, were asked to collaborate on a piece about Major League Baseball – specifically, as to whether games should have been played the weekend after the assassination.

“Our job in that pre-Internet era was to pick up the phone and call a sampling of newspapers around America to find out what they had editorialized – or what the primary columnist had written – on the subject of the propriety of playing baseball that weekend,” Ryan recalled. “Then we combined our forces for a joint by-line story by Peter Gammons and Robert Ryan. And the next day, I went in and I said, ‘If you don’t mind, I’d rather go as Bob.’ So that was the only time in (all my years) at the Globe that the byline said Robert Ryan.”

That was June 11, 1968.

The rest is history.

Moving to the 21st century, sports coverage these days is not dominated by assassinations, but rather, by NBA free agency – and the Indiana Pacers are reportedly shopping Roy Hibbert.

“He’s a nice young man. We all know that,” Ryan prefaced. “But something went wrong. Something went awry. To account for his complete disintegration at times last year – when he does have the best of intentions and he does have a good heart – (is a mystery). Whatever was going on in that locker room, I don’t know. But you can’t teach 7-2. And he has had moments of great glory. I find (trading Hibbert) to be a radical approach to whatever is ailing them in that locker room. But can you imagine the soul searching that went on?”

The Pacers started 40-11 but went 16-15 the rest of the way. They looked shaky in each round of the playoffs, eventually getting blown off the floor by the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

“For a team of quality, they really played some of the most inexplicably awful games in the playoffs I have ever seen,” Ryan said. “We’re not talking about an eight (seed) that got (into the playoffs) with 39 wins. We’re talking about a team that was once considered to be the best team in the league.”

“I hate the idea of scapegoating (Hibbert), and I don’t know what they do to replace him, but something’s got to be done there.”

In other free agent news, the Cavaliers believe they have a shot at signing LeBron James – this after Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ supposed recruiting trip to South Florida to woo the King back to Cleveland.

Ryan, however, believes James will remain in Miami.

“I expect that is what will be the end result of it all,” Ryan said, “but I am not surprised at anything he explores. He’s exploring all those options. I felt from the beginning he should stay. If he’s concerned with how history is going to regard him, then I think his best play is to be the guy and have the other moons surround him as the planet and attract other people – which I assume that Miami could do in perpetuity, rather than becoming a vagabond and joining forces yet again.”

“We’ll give him an allowance of one time to do that, but I don’t think that we really want to see him doing this a second time. I still think he’s going back to Miami.”

 

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