Tony Soprano Is Alive and in Witness Protection Thanks to LeBron James

Think you know The Sopranos ending? The New York Knicks might have something to say about that.

Tony (James Gandolfini) Carmella (Edie Falco) and AJ Soprano (Robert Iler) in The Sopranos' final scene
Photo: HBO

Everyone knows the iconic ending to The Sopranos – even if they’ve never seen the beloved HBO drama. On the off chance you don’t know how Tony Soprano’s story concludes and want to preserve the experience for when you finally spring for Max, be aware the following contains…


Anywho, New Jersey crime lord Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) dies. Or maybe he doesn’t. But he probably does. As Tony gathers with his family at Holsten’s for some onion rings in the final scene of the series, the tension begins to ramp up. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” blares from the jukebox as the camera drifts across the dining room, highlighting a nondescript mobster-looking guy in a Members Only jacket. Just as Tony’s daughter Meadow begins to enter the restaurant, having conquered a parallel parking challenge, the series cuts to black. It’s all over.

The Sopranos‘ non-ending is purposeful. Showrunner David Chase wants the audience to linger on the uncertainty of it all. Whether Tony’s story ends in his assassination in that diner or in handcuffs outside of it, the end is surely nigh and he’s not going to like whatever it is. Over the years, Chase has been asked about the ending many times and for the most part he’s resisted the urge to discuss it any further. That’s the ending. We will never see anything after that. But what if someone did? And what if that someone was NBA superstar LeBron James? Allow us to explain.

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Back in 2010, LeBron James had just completed his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers (this writer’s team of choice) and was eligible for free agency. As the undisputed best player in the universe, James had his pick of the litter when it came to selecting his next team. Naturally, every team that believed it had a shot put its best foot forward in recruiting the legendary wing player. The Cavaliers put together a presentation that highlighted James’ local roots. Miami Heat president Pat Riley dumped a bag containing his seven championship rings on the table. The New York Knicks, however, tried something a little different…

For years, rumors have persisted that the Knicks put together a cringe-filled free agency presentation that the superstar and his team absolutely did not vibe with. Details of that presentation have proven to be elusive until now. Thanks to the tireless efforts of sports journalist Pablo Torre and his team at the podcast Pablo Torre Finds Out, we now have actual footage from the Knicks’ ill-fated pitch to LeBron.

The full video is 10 minutes long and contains messages from New York City luminaries like Harvey Weinstein (!), Rudy Giuliani (!!), and Donald Trump (!!!). But the best part is undoubtedly its intro. Because that’s where we not only discover that, Tony Soprano didn’t die, but he and his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) have been living in witness protection in the Big Apple (as one does when they’re trying to go unnoticed). Watch the clip below that features the actual James Gandolfini and the actual Edie Falco.

How did Tony Soprano and LeBron James become friends? Why is it Tony and Carmela’s responsibility to find a 6-foot-8 professional athlete a place to live? And why do they settle on Madison Square Garden of all places? Your guess is as good as ours. But believe it or not, this high school theater-level production of a Sopranos epilogue didn’t move the needle for LeBron. He eventually signed with the Miami Heat.

While it didn’t work out well for the Knicks, things did work out for us. Because now we know that Tony Soprano is canonically alive and in New York.