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Pairing of Larry King and the King Strangely Entertaining

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The setting: LeBron James’ mansion, somewhere near Akron. (Where are we? Larry King asks. "Bath Township," the King replies.) The odd couple is seated on a patio, with a fountain gently shooting up water in the background.

Larry King Live aired an exclusive, non-live interview with LeBron James last night, and it was strangely entertaining.

I only caught enough to give second-half highlights — but that’s more than enough.

Larry showed a surprising amount of basketball knowledge — though he seemed most familiar with Kobe Bryant, asking if LeBron wanted to "shoot like Kobe?" "Does he amaze you?" At 9:33 p.m., Larry asked about going to play for the Los Angeles — you know, in the same city and the same arena as Kobe? LeBron gently dismissed the notion. (He said Cleveland has the hometown advantage in the impending free-for-all for his services, though he would go to the team where he would have the best opportunity to win multiple championships. It’s not about the money. But he did say that Warren Buffett gives him "a lot of insight on business ventures," and praised a certain billionaire mayor of New York.)

At one point Larry said he had heard a "rumor" about a certain players’ get-together – "I don't know if it’s true, so I wrote it down just to make sure." He pulled out a piece of paper from his shirt pocket, going on to read off a double-digit list of this summer’s boffo free agents, including Bosh, Wade and Nowitzki. (Sly Larry! Nice crib sheet.) A little later, he said, "That free agent meeting will be historic in the history of sports. I’ll attend. I’ll sit in the corner."

That wasn’t the only hyperbolic statement. Coming back from one commercial break, Larry said LeBron’s future was the most talked about topic in sports right now, more than who would win the World Series, the Stanley Cup, or the NBA championship; then, returning from a commercial at 9:41, Larry called LeBron "the most talked about figure in sports in years in the United States."

But the best part was simply listening to Larry’s questions:

Q: "How do you deal with the temptations of life?"
Q: "Have any of your Cavaliers teammates asked you to stay?" LeBron laughed. "Of course. Of course."
Q: "What do you think of Lady Gaga?" "Oh, she’s an unbelievable performer."
Q: "Are you doing a movie?" "I’m doing a movie called Ballers." Unfortunately, Larry misunderstood, cracking LeBron up. "That’s funny. You know, basketballs. I get it."

To be fair, Larry had good questions too, such as "Do you ever feel sad you didn't go to college?" "No, I never feel sad. But I do wish I could have been part of March Madness," LeBron answered. He also said he believes the Celtics will win the Finals.

But perhaps the most telling line came when LeBron was talking about Buffett, and how he told him to make a decision and not "second-guess yourself." "The best advice he gave me," LeBron said, "is truly follow your gut."

AND ONE: To watch these guys shooting some hoops on LeBron's home court, click here.

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About Edward B. Colby