Buckle up, Sopranos fans. There is a new mini-chapter to the iconic HBO series.
The wild tale was recounted on the recent docuseries podcast Shattered: Hope, Heartbreak and the New York Knicks. While teams across the country were vying for James to come to play for them, there was a star-studded push by the Knicks, which somehow ensnared Gandolfini and Edie Falco for the team’s presentation to James.
Producer Rocco Caruso was enlisted to create the team’s video.
“They thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if we could somehow start the piece with The Sopranos?’ because it had just more or less ended,” Caruso recalled. “And I said, ‘I know Edie, … I could send her an email,’ and she said ‘Great. I’ll do it.'”
Falco said she remembered the entire experience well.
“I do remember doing it, and what is absolutely amazing to me is I didn’t know who LeBron James was,” the actress said, laughing. “We got those requests all the time back then and Jim Gandolfini, he did nothing. And somehow he agreed to this thing, which I was shocked by. I thought it was a prank when someone said Jim’s going to do it.”
Caruso said the scene was shot in Gandolfini’s New York apartment.
“And there we were, dressed as our characters. And I was thinking, ‘This can’t possibly be happening,'” Falco said.
The premise of the scene was that the Sopranos were friends of James and they were going to find him a place to live, which was ultimately Madison Square Garden, Caruso recalled.
Gandolfini at the time had a thick, full beard, which the actor said could be explained by saying Tony had entered the witness protection program. “So we rewrote the script around that,” Caruso said.
Falco recalled Gandolfini being very into the scene. “There he was, dressed as Tony. … He must have been a bigger basketball fan than I realized.”
Caruso said the moment was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that ultimately led to nothing, as James chose to play in Miami.