The Sopranos Enter Witness Protection in Knicks’ Cringey Unearthed LeBron James Recruitment Video

Back in 2010, the New York Knicks were among the many teams who hoped to sign LeBron James as he entered free agency for the first time. The long-fabled recruitment video they made to lure the future Hall of Famer to the Big Apple has now been unearthed, and it opens with a meta continuation of The Sopranos picking up two years after the show faded to black.

As revealed by the Pablo Torre Finds Out podcast, the clip starts with a low-budget scene featuring the late James Gandolfini and Edie Falco reprising their roles as Tony and Carmela Soprano as they discuss how they can help bring King James to the Knicks. “Tony, I’m so glad we moved to New York,” Carmelo says. “Life is so much better now.”

“Yeah, life’s good here, Carm,” Tony agrees, “even if we are in the witness protection program.” The couple then considers how they can find a place for his “friend” LeBron to live before settling on the “magnificent” and “one of a kind” Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play.


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To close the scene, Tony sticks out his tongue before “City of Winners” is shown on screen and JAY-Z’s “Public Service Announcement” plays in the background. Watch the video below.

As it turns out, Gandolfini was a die-hard Knicks fan and was so gung-ho about the idea that he talked Edie Falco into it. In a separate audio clip, Falco revealed the scene was filmed at the actor’s apartment and that he even conceived its idea. Unfortunately, we’ll never know why Gandolfini thought being in witness protection would be an appealing scenario to pitch LeBron.

Believe it or not, but the cringe gets even worse in the recruitment video. Knicks owner James Dolan’s friends Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Harvey Weinstein all make cameos that aged like spoiled milk. New York celebs Chris Rock, Robert De Niro, and Spike Lee also appear alongside athletes like Reggie Jackson, Mark Messier, and Walt Frazier.


Adding insult to injury, the Knicks met with LeBron right after the Nets and then part-owner JAY-Z, making the song choice straight-up embarrassing. Watch the full episode below to see Torre break down the recruitment video with well-known Knicks fans Jason Concepcion and Rob “WorldWideWob” Perez.

Of course, LeBron James ended up spurning the Knicks and joining the Heat alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, winning back-to-back championships in Miami. He then returned to Cleveland and won a title with the Cavs before moving on to his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he won another ring in 2020.

As for the Knicks, they’ve only made it out of the first round twice since 2010. The team has also failed to sniff the Eastern Conference finals, though that could all change with this year’s second-place team.


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