Friday, July 9, 2010
Man Overboard on the USS LeBron
So everyone in Miami now loves LeBron. Everyone in Cleveland hates him. What's left of the rest of us who appreciated his skill, but never boarded the USS Mint?
Perhaps it's just me, but these shenanigans have turned me sour on a man to whom I previously had no emotional reaction.
Really? An hour special on ESPN is required to break the hearts of everyone in a town who have grown up loving you? An hour special is needed to announce the signing of the biggest name in basketball who hasn't won anything? Last I checked, Peyton Manning knows better than to pull a stunt like that with his next contract, and he has won a championship. And last I checked, he was an icon of his sport and an endorsement cash machine, too, LeBron.
This is just another shameless all about me ploy from an over-coddled, superstar athlete, with no sense of his place in the world. We're working on a parade for the time when we get unemployment back below nine percent, and Mr. James thinks what the world needs is a full hour dedicated to him and how much money he is about to make? Disgraceful. And that counts for the fans who sat watching with bated breath, as well.
LeBron has shown himself to be a callow creation of his day in age, fully costumed in whatever way would bring he and his associates the most money... straight from your pocket. And you're expected to thank him for it as well. Every day, we're faced with another revelation of a former child athlete who wants everyone to think that they "get it," but only as far as your holding tight to that image will inflate not only their pocketbook, but their never-say-boo-to-me ego as well. Tiger Woods, anyone?
And that isn't to say that LeBron owed anything to Cleveland. Is he a better story in Cleveland? Yes. Would it build a bigger legacy if he brought not only one, but several championships to Cleveland? Yes. So if this move is not about LeBron, but "winning" why bolt? Even if he does win in Miami with his superteam backing him (which is not assured, as I believe that at present, the Heat barely have enough players under contract to field five for tipoff), how will that build Brand LeBron? How does that fit into the legacy?
There are those who claim that LeBron would never find the support he needed to win in Cleveland. Could Cleveland have made better moves? Only those with more inside information into the world of NBA general managers than I can answer. But the organization showed effort. He wasn't with the Clippers. Anyone who paid attention to the 2010 playoff series against the Celtics could have deduced that the debacle wasn't entirely on the shoulders of the supporting cast. For someone who wants to be the next or even surpass Michael Jordan pulled a pancake in ways that I don't think Jordan ever saw even in his nightmares.
Regardless, even in your departure, LeBron, Cleveland and her fans deserved better than you felt obliged to bestow.
In pre-July 8, 2010 America, this guy could have probably won a popularity contest with Jesus. How about today? Give it at least a moment of consideration before answering. The stroke-session we saw last evening, lubricated by the smooth lotion of Stu Scott and friends, narcissism front and center, may be LeBron James enduring image. It's at the very least an image that sports fans will long remember. I doubt a championship of three will erase that travesty from the minds of true and pure fans and historians. And I hope that Mr. 'Bron, sir, you considered that risk into your calculations, as your greatest gamble could prove to be a tragedy of Oedipal proportions. And I, for one, will not shed a tear. We are all witnesses, indeed.