It's almost inconceivable that Tom Brady was sending a message to LeBron James by wearing a San Francisco Giants cap courtside at the Celtics-Cavaliers Game 7 Sunday in Boston. It's even less likely that, were he the target of said message, James would give two hairs on a rat's rear.
But even if the message existed only in this column's fevered imagination, it was still a great message.
James, as you know, is from Akron, Ohio, and now hangs his hat in Cleveland. Last fall, local fans learned to their dismay that his hat is a New York Yankees cap, which he had the nerve to wear in the stands at a Yankees-Indians playoff game in Cleveland. Indians fans took that as a slap in the face.
Why, even the usually reticent Bob Feller spoke up, threatening to sit next to the Cavaliers bench in Detroit Pistons gear someday.
The world learned that James grew up rooting not only for the Yankees but also for the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Cowboys, two more teams that were winning championships when LeBron was a kid. He's a front-runner. Worse than that, he's an extreme front-runner. When James decided to be a Yankees fan in the late '90s, his hometown Indians were on a run of five straight playoff appearances including two pennants. They were great, just not quite as great as the Yankees.
So here's Brady -- you there in the back: Put your hand down please, we know what you're going to say -- wearing a Giants baseball cap to the biggest game in the history of the Boston universe, this month's edition. The Giants are Brady's hometown team, and they stink on ice.
As Brady watched the Celtics win, the Giants were a continent away, losing their fifth straight. They're worse than everybody who isn't the San Diego Padres, and they shouldn't look back. And we're not talking about a Bronx-style early-season stumble. They're well on their way to a fourth straight losing season.
Support your local team, Brady's cap might have been saying, directly to James, through thick and thin. Or through thin and thin, as the case may be, and has been quite a bit in Cleveland. This is a city that hasn't fielded a major team-sport champion since 1964.
Brady's cap points the way to a more satisfying life. There's some momentary, empty pleasure to be had in jumping on a bandwagon, becoming a die-hard fan of some team on the brink of winning a championship. But it's a lot more satisfying to root for a winner if you were there for the losing. You earn your ecstasy that way. You deserve it. It's one of the great pleasures of sports fandom.
Confidential to T.B.: Sweet Members Only jacket, dude.
If Tom Brady, loyal supporter of his downtrodden boyhood team through thin and thin, didn't exist, it would have been necessary to invent him. Consider it done.