James Michael Angelo was just another commuter trying to get somewhere on the New York City subway Monday.
Now he’s the “Can You Not?” guy.
Angelo, a comedian and real estate agent, earned viral fame after shoving LeBron James’s phone out of the way while the basketball superstar filmed his public transit adventure. “Can you not?” Angelo said.
James and his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates explained on James’ video that they opted for the underground because a bus ride would have taken too long from their morning shoot-around before their night game against the New York Knicks.
For many basketball fans, the players’ presence would be straphanger nirvana. But when James’ selfie-video placed Angelo in the frame next to him and he said, “I don’t know this dude right here, he trippin,’” Angelo reacted with the push and his now-famous line. Angelo told For the Win that he had asked James three times to watch his elbows and that the four-time MVP was “unaware of his space.” Angelo said he was listening to U2 on his headphones and didn’t want to be filmed.
In a funny video Angelo posted later to Twitter, he joked that he wanted to be referred to as “Can You Not?” from now on. He insisted he didn’t know he was in the presence of sports greatness. “I had no idea who LeBron James was because I don’t watch football,” he declared before being corrected by someone off-camera.
Angelo then issued a mock challenge to James: “I just want you to know that I’m coming for you.”
Just another day on the New York subway.
Incidentally, the Cavaliers defeated the Knicks, 104-101.