Knicks’ Top-Secret LeBron James Video Pitch in 2010 Featuring The Sopranos Surfaces [WATCH]

LeBron James nixed Knicks offer

Getty LeBron James announced his decision to play for the Miami Heat over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks in 2010.

In 2010, the New York Knicks pulled all the strings to recruit LeBron James, opening their free agency meeting with a 10-minute video pitch featuring “The Sopranos” stars James Gandolfini and Eddie Falco reprising their iconic roles as Carmela and Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos fans would have died to say “Yes” but not James, who spurned the on-screen mob couple and the Knicks to play for their arch-nemesis, Pat Riley’s Miami Heat.

The top-secret video finally surfaced on the internet 14 years later, thanks to Filipino-American TV host and podcaster Pablo Torre, who previously worked with ESPN.

In the latest episode of the “Pablo Torre Finds Out” podcast, Torre and Knicks and social media personalities  — Filipino-American writer Jason Concepcion known as @netw3rk and Rob Perez known as @WorldWideWob on X, formerly Twitter — dissected the 10-minute video that was kept under wraps for a long time.

While Falco and Gandolfini’s efforts to recruit James to come to New York failed, it gave “The Sopranos” fans one last image of the on-screen power couple two years after the series famously ended in the fade to black that kept fans debating whether Tony Soprano died or lived.

The Plot Twist

The opening segment of James’ recruitment video was shot in Gandolfini’s apartment in New York, which took place two years after the series finale.

The plot was Tony and Carmela moved to New York in hiding under the witness protection program, suggesting Tony lived and survived the assassination in the series finale.

They were looking for a place for Tony’s friend, James, to live in New York.

Tony described James as “a modern guy, but he respects tradition.” Carmela’s search ended with a picture of a packed Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game to which Tony reacted:

“Oh yeah. Yeah, that’s it. That’s gonna be perfect for him.”

It turned out to be the last time the the Soprano couple shared on screen as Gandolfini died three years later.

Falco revealed Gandolfini was all-in during the taping.

“James Gandolfini would rarely do this kind of things. If he did, he would do them very begrudglingly,” Falco told The Athletic in 2021. “He was into this, like he really he was dressed as Tony… Are you kidding me?! I guess he must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realized. He added some ideas… I remember thinking, Jeez, who would have thought that he’d be like all-in for this little weird thing that were doing.”

Crickets After LeBron James Meeting

After the “The Sopranos” skit, which ultimately became the high point of the underwhelming video, also included friends of Knicks owner James Dolan from the business and movie industries and entertainers and former players who waxed poetic about New York being a city of winners made for winners.

Except the Knicks were not winning at that time.

The famous New Yorkers who appeared in the video were Yankees legend Reggie Jackson, Rangers legend Mark Messier, Knicks legends Bill Bradley, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, former president Donald Trump, ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, actors Chris Rock, Robert De Niro and Alec Baldwin, Knicks superfan and director Spike Lee, American art curator Thelma Golden, businessmen Richard Parsons and Mike Bloomberg and disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“We tried to put him in a New York state of mind,” then Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said in 2010, per the New York Post. “Hopefully it worked out. I’m cautiously optimistic.”

It was crickets from James and his camp after the meeting and the video presentation.

“He didn’t give us much feedback,” Allan Houston, former Knicks player who worked as an assistant to the president at that time, per New York Post.

The problem was they also showed the same video but edited James’ name and replaced it with Dwyane Wade’s during their other recruitment meeting. Ultimately, Wade recruited James to join him in Miami instead.

Riley, the former Knicks coach who turned into a Garden villain, sealed the Heat’s recruitment pitch by showing his championship rings to James.

The rest was history.

LeBron James Claims Playing for Knicks Crossed His Mind

Before James played the Knicks in his last visit to the Madison Square Garden this season, James touched on his 2010 free agency.

“During my free agency period in 2010, it was one of the teams that I looked at,” James told reporters on February 3. “So I’ve had that thought in my career.”

The recent rumors linking him to the Knicks were dismissed as just a leverage play, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who has been covering James since his high school years in Akron, Ohio.

“Obviously, LeBron often wears towels, okay,” Windhorst said on “The Hoop Collective” on February 5. “This is why it’s so brilliant. Because he has perfect deniability he can be like, ‘I just put a towel around my around my shoulders. What are you talking about? You guys are out of your mind.’

“LeBron, this is what he excels at. He computes all this stuff. Of course, he was cognizant and aware that he was putting on a towel that said New York Knicks. And why would he mess with the Knicks? Because he was using the Knicks as a tool to pressure the Lakers.”