Free Agency in the NBA has turned into the WWE.

Some do it the right way (Kevin Durant), some have learned to do it the right way (Kobe Bryant after making ESPN his own television channel when he almost left the Lakers back in 2005) but LeBron James? Just doesn’t get it.

If holding an entire city hostage for over two years and telling them that you might release them from their captivity on a “decision day” isn’t a cheap way of breaking up with someone, tell me differently. If making yourself bigger than the sport merely because people have been blowing BP oil up your rectum since middle school isn’t cheap (and also pretty arrogant), tell me differently. Sadly, you can’t.

Fact is, there aren’t any real winners in the LeBron James Reality TV Show. I wanted to call it “The LeBrachelorette” but Bill Simmons already swiped “The LeBrachelor”. Hijacking ESPN for an hour and let the media show the world what a true verbal tip kissing contest looks like tops it off. Even if he decides to join the team of “superstar” Dwyane Wade and “good second fiddle” Chris Bosh or even lands himself in New York to try and resurrect the Knicks from their own failures as a franchise or the “nice” move of staying in Cleveland, there’s no real interest in LeBron the player anymore.

Understand this, not once all season did LeBron seem like winning a championship was on his list. No, becoming a free agent was. The Dr. J “super nice” gene rolled inside of him like the human centipede and stayed there for four months and when that “killer instinct” decided to show up – it was too late. Yes, I’ll be in the crowd of Houston Rockets fans who seem a little put off by the fact that Les Alexander and Darryl Morley picked up no big named free agents but I’ll also be in the crowd of overall NBA fans who wishes it were just a basketball association again.

Instead, players are more concerned about building brands and creating legacies off the court instead of winning, skipping step two of the Michael Jordan Steps to Becoming A Global Icon. Step one was to do a series of unforeseen things on a basketball court, set records and get close to tasting victory. Step two was to actually win. For seven years we’ve been pushed on this LeBron train as if we were granted such a privilege to watch him play basketball. The return for it? Two MVP awards, one conference championship, building the city of Cleveland back into a basketball town, one NBA Finals sweep (2007), one Jordan Crawford dunk at a basketball skills camp, one reference by Pusha T of the Clipse, one alleged rumor of Delonte West & Gloria James. In other words: not much winning there.

No matter where he goes, somebody is losing. And if it’s Cleveland, I’m prepared to see a story on CNN about mass suicides and secession talks to Canada with Rick Perry brokering the deal.

For all other things, tune into ESPN tomorrow at 9 PM EST for the final episode of “One LeBron To Live”.

53 Responses

  1. savereyes

    Well said. Agreed on all fronts. This is a brand-making media circus. I believe this is supposed to coincide with the grand opening of his website as well. It doesn’t matter where he signs though, he will never come close to that championship. LeBron James, crowned king of nothing.

    Reply
  2. bhharrin

    haha I agree that he and everyone including all the espn stations and sports talk shows have blown this whole thing waaaaaaaayyy out of proportion. But still, it’s Lebron James. How can you say “Not once all season did he seem like winning a championship.” He led his team to the best record in the East! But, I agree in the playoffs he didn’t look very “Lebron-like,” but never-the-less, any team would be incredibily happy to have one of the best up and coming basketball stars on their team. And he’s actually broken a lot of records already for being so young.

    Reply
  3. Todd Pack

    You’re absolutely right. This is all about LeBron trying to build his brand, and it might work, at least for a while, but if you really want to build a brand in sports, you have to play great and also win games. If you do those two things, I think the branding pretty much takes care of itself.

    http://toddpack.com

    Reply
  4. keith

    Well said. The league has got to get a handle on the unchecked avarice of its premier players. The bloom is off the rose with LBJ and his free agency hijinks may forever exclude him from the status that he seems to crave.

    Reply
  5. Jen W.

    I agree that Lebron didn’t seem like winning was his priority this year. When he’s lost in the finals in the past, he hasn’t always shaken hands with the other team or participated in the press conferences. But this year he did. That made me think losing gave him an out with the Cavs.

    Still, I’d like him to stay in Cleveland. I think him being there is good for the city (and watching Lebron, Wade, and Bosh dominate next year doesn’t sound that interesting to me).

    Thanks for the post. This was interesting reading!

    Reply
  6. Judy

    My brother and I say this all the time.
    “Hey you wouldn’t guess whats on the news right now!”…
    “LeBron? (not even a question)”
    ….jokingly saying “how did you know?”
    “I rather have Brett Farve on now than LeBron.”

    Anyways, LeBron is going to be known as the man who needed help to win a championship if he goes to Miami. It would be a stupid move I think. Make your own legacy LeBron.

    Reply
  7. Elmer

    I think LeBron should sign with Chicago. It’s his best chance to win the whole thing. Him, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer would be tough to beat.

    Reply
  8. TheIntentionalSage

    It’s almost over… about 6 hours and 45 minutes until the decision is announced (it’s supposed to be announced in the first 10 minutes of the show).

    With Love and Gratitude,

    The Intentional Sage

    Reply
  9. familyobservations

    well written…..the fans and media have made him what he is today…..aspiring to greatness on the court is second to being a businessman…..but he is acheiving on an otherworldly level with basketball as his second priority.

    Reply
  10. bnagletaylor

    I’ve been lambasting LeBron as well, for all this peacocking he better tell us he’s going to Greece or Italy to play. He’s going to Miami though, and if he doesn’t I’ve lost all respect, too much ego. http://bit.ly/9yKHFl

    Reply
  11. Adrienne

    I think that he’s going through all of this because he seriously hasn’t decided were he is going. I think he also feels he has to live up to his own hype and make it clear that he might not have a ring but he’s still a hot commodity around the league.

    – Adrienne (http://libererlarene.wordpress.com/)

    Reply
  12. pbandchutney

    well said!! he totally has made himself bigger than the game. it’s all about branding himself. and why bring the boys and girls club into this? he could donate more than what they’ll make tonight. and an HOUR LONG special on this? how pompous does someone have to be to go this far? i dont know any other bball player who has done anything like this for so much attention.

    i blogged about this as well, but you said it much better (hence on freshly pressed). well done.

    http://pbandchutney.wordpress.com

    Reply
  13. One LeBron To Live (via Day & A Dream) « Parallel Visions

    […] Free Agency in the NBA has turned into the WWE. Some do it the right way (Kevin Durant), some have learned to do it the right way (Kobe Bryant after making ESPN his own television channel when he almost left the Lakers back in 2005) but LeBron James? Just doesn’t get it. If holding an entire city hostage for over two years and telling them that you might release them from their captivity on a “decision day” isn’t a cheap way of breaking up with s … Read More […]

    Reply
  14. THE NATE

    Michael Jordan was 28 when he won his first championship. LeBron is 25. Dont go saying Michael is a way better player then Lebron. LeBron has already been the the Finals once, has 2 MVP awards. So give it up already. Go LeBron!!!! Miami all the way. I’m from Minnesota and I’m soo glad Garnett went out and got a ring, at least we got a bunch of draft picks and a couple players in return. Players play to “WIN THE GAME.” I will be first in line to buy #6 Miami Heat jersey.

    Reply
  15. Aurie

    I don’t know if this will yield championships for LBJ in the long run because anything can happen (i.e. injuries, etc) – but I don’t understand why people are mad that he was willing to take less money, be a villain in his own home state, and have his 7 year legacy questioned. If you want to dispute the basketball sense that this makes, I think that reasonable people can disagree…but that’s the only argument worth having at this point in my mind.

    Reply
  16. auto2thai

    you have to play great and also win games. If you do those two things, I think the branding pretty much takes care of itself.

    Reply
  17. Jeff Winbush

    Well, no matter if you’re happy or sad or don’t give a damn that LeBron is trading in Cleveland snow and ice for South Beach sun and mojitos, NOTHING justifies the crude, rude and flat out stupid ranting and raving of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert. He comes off as the world’s most jealous beeyotch and though I’m not a big fan of LeGone, I hope he comes back to Cleveland, catches an alley-oop, monsta dunk jam in Anderson Varejo’s mug, stands over him and looks up where Gilbert is squatting like a ugly little toad and says, “COME GET SOME!”

    Reply
  18. magazin

    ZZMike – Thanks for the kind words. Checked out your site. Taking into account everything there, combined with your comments here…we agree on things 100%.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.