The way the Philadelphia 76ers manhandled the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio with young talent on Thursday night was a hell of a sales pitch if they’re to land LeBron James in free agency in 2018.
And if LeBron’s already made up his mind about joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in the City of Brotherly Love, he didn’t make much of an effort to hide it.
Throughout the contest, he giggled with his opponents’ All-Star center.
LEBRON AND EMBIID BFF pic.twitter.com/yinl40Dk1Z
— Drew Corrigan (@Dcorrigan50) March 2, 2018
Then after dropping 30 points and flirting with a triple-double while no one else on the Cavs roster scored more than 13 points, LeBron took to Instagram to gush about Embiid and “young King” Simmons.
I told y’all a while back that my young King was next in line! Getting better and better every night out! Tonight another example of that. Fun to watch and compete against you again and #TheProcess @joelembiid. Remember lil bro settle for nothing less than GREATNESS!!! @bensimmons
A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on
Embiid then followed up his in-game recruitment efforts with one on social media.
A post shared by Joel “The Process” Embiid (@joelembiid) on
Other than on- and off-court respect, the closest thing to evidence that LeBron is Philly-bound came from former NBA player Alaa Abdelnaby, now a color commentator for 76ers broadcasts on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“I’ve told this to a few other people, and I have no problem saying this, my brother lives in the Philadelphia area and he told me that LeBron, last week through a superintendent, was in the area checking out some private schools during the All-Star break,” Abdelnaby told “Philly Sports Talk” on Tuesday.
LeBron’s sons are star ballers in their own rights, so if he is to uproot the family this offseason, it’d make sense for him to kick the tires on some schools.
LeBron James said he did not go to any high schools in Pennsylvania during the All-Star Break: pic.twitter.com/SczB3KYS3Q
— Jessica Camerato (@JCameratoNBCS) March 1, 2018
Okay, fine, maybe he wasn’t at any schools in Pennsylvania. LeBron didn’t say anything about schools in New Jersey, a state that’s 40 miles from the heart of Philadelphia, and that features St. Benedict’s Prep—teammate J.R. Smith’s alma mater and one of the best basketball high schools in the nation—and St. Anthony’s, which has produced at least nine NBA players and has won a national record 27 state titles.