Thursday, July 8, 2010

Getting Lost in the LeBron James Shuffle

I was so sick of hearing about the LeBron James saga.  No, not about "The Decision."  And, of course that was where he was going to go, I would go to South Beach too over Cleveland - in a "Hearrrrtbeeeat."  I'm talking about all of the media outlets screaming and crying about how much of a narcissistic fool LeBron James was for starring in The Decision in the first place.  You can read all about the following points of view - that it has been a ridiculous circus, Lebron has an enormous ego, LeBron's entourage and ESPN are to blame and of course the expected comparison to Art Modell, who hightailed it out of Cleveland in 1995 to Baltimore of all places.  Even MM used social media to express her opinion that LeBron was a "Narcissistic crybaby."  Curiously absent from the James-bashing was ESPN, probably because they were the media outlet that conceived of this plan almost 2 years ago and got the exclusive rights to show the James decision.  I agree that this spectacle is ego-massaging at its best.

Amid all of the name calling and sweating, one thing has gotten lost though.  LeBron isn't here for you, sports reporters.  He's here for me and all of the other fans of the Cavaliers and the NBA in general.  He's here for my three kids, who buy the hot dogs and jerseys and bug their parents until they buy tickets.  After all, you sports reporters get your tickets for free; I have to pay for my tickets.  I indirectly pay for LeBron's salary, just like I pay for all of the Celtics' salaries - well except for you Sheed, I would like to get my money back from you - and you sports reporters don't.  I would even go so far to say that I pay for sports reporters salaries too. 

As an example, I was listening to 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston earlier this afternoon before LeBron made his decision.  The bile coming out of the mouths of Tony Mazz and Mike Felger (even more than usual!) was astononishing considering the LeBron James story meant that they didn't have to do any work for the last two days since their content was fed to them on a silver platter.  I don't blame them for their feelings, but guys like these have lost touch with their audience.  We don't care if LeBron James has created a circus or had his entourage stroke his ego.  We just don't care.  What we care about is finding out what games we're going to next year, because my boys favorite player is King James.  And if we're going to games next year it will be against the Heat, because of HIM.

8pm.  Home.  The kids will get to stay up later than usual tonight.  This was the biggest sports story of the year and they would pissed if they missed it because of an imaginary deadline like "bedtime."

"Where do you think LeBron is going to go?"  I ask the boys.

"Heat" they both say simultaneously.  Then my 8 year old pipes in "Or the Bulls, because they are so bad."  I'm not sure where they got this information.

"Why does he always dunk? He's such a show off!" I then hear as they show a montage of his 2009-2010 highlights.  I gently explain that LeBron best game is when he drives to the basketball and does fancy things wiht the basketball.  I then have to ward off requests for the game show "Wipeout."  I hope this starts soon, because I'm in for Wipeout if this doesn't start moving a little bit.

We then watch the cities' reactions and latest buzz.  It amuses me to see Knicks and Bulls fans think that they have a chance; the Sportsnation Poll even suggests that fans from those states still think that LeBron is going there; how charming.  I don't have time to comment further before my 6 year old asks me (after seein Chris Bosh picking up his third banana t-shirt)  "Is Chris Bosh is better than Ray Allen?" No.  "Is Chris Bosh better than Paul Pierce?"  NO!  He then moves on to yelling at his Mother to watch the TV lest she miss the "Decision."

"If he goes to the Heat, I'm rooting for the Heat.  What about you, Dad?"  "If he doesn't stay with the Cavaliers they'll be the worst team ever.  Is your favorite team now the Heat?" 

"I'm not going to root for the Heat.  I love the Celtics."  I explain.  It's clear that ESPN has orchestrated this so well that my kids think that the Heat is the only team in the NBA.

9:30pm.  Finally, we are on pins and needles.  Even my 6 year old rouses from his sleep long enough to hear LeBron say that he is taking his talents to South Beach.  I'm not even sure what that means; I assume that he has picked to play for the Heat.  My wife and I are disappointed.

"I can't believe he taught all of those youngsters sitting in the background about how to stab a bunch of people in the back."  I guess you have to get them used to it early on so they know what to expect when they become adults.

Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk.  I don't care what you have to say, Stu.

My 8 year old and 6 year old then go on to ask me when they can go to a Heat game next year - presumably in Boston.  They then ask if there will be tickets available when they come to Boston.  The inevitable jersey requests soon follow.  "OK, these are the two teams that I'm going to root for, the Heat and the Celtics."  The requests are coming fast and furious now. 

After the kids settle down a bit, I remark that LeBron and Dwyane share the same jersey number.  "No, Dad, Dwyane Wade is #3 and LeBron James is #6;  Mario Chalmers is #6.  You're so stupid!"  Great.  They just gave me an excuse to send them to bed for being fresh to Dad, not before looking at the boys with pride that they are sports trivia nuts.  And not before I record the rest of the special for the boys at their request.  You see, this is about us - the fans.  We have a new team to watch, and even more importantly a new team to boo.  We don't care about anything else tonight.  Bring on the Heat!!

photographs courtesy of

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