NBA superstar LeBron James and a three-ring media circus descended on Greenwich launching the town into a frenzy of anticipation of which team the two-time MVP would sign with. Hours before that announcement, local businesses braced for a flood of fans hungry for dinner and a chance to see LeBron.
Roger Santo, manager of Planet Pizza, said his business was way up for the day and was glad to see customers coming and going.
"Today is definitely different from a normal day," Santo said. "It's something different. It's really good. It brings a lot of business not just for us, but [also] for other stores around here. "
Before the night was over more than a dozen news outlets and almost 400 fans crammed on sidewalks and patches of grass across the street from the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich. A few diehard fans hoping LeBron would pick the Knicks had camped outside since the morning. Police lined the streets trying to keep the growing number of spectators away from traffic.
"I think this is mass hysteria," Cynthia Edwards, who works in Greenwich, said. "But any exposure like this for Greenwich and the area has to be a good thing."
A roar went up over the crowd when LeBron was spotted entering the building through a side entrance. An hour later, the goodwill evaporated instantly when he announced he would be signing with the Miami Heat. With loud groans and a chorus of boos, disappointed fans dispersed as quickly as they arrived.
"I'm pretty upset and disappointed," Mark Lauten of Wilton said. "I'll get over it, but to come all the way to Greenwich to say he's going to MiamiI don't get it. Why would you do that to your fans? He let me down. He let Knicks fans down."
Video shot and edited by Chris Palermo. Interviews conducted by Eric Gendron.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.