First, we waited for Lebron James to decide. A year later, we watched Carmelo Anthony flip-flop. And just this week, our “Dwightmare” mercilessly ended.
For three straight years, NBA fans have been unfairly subjected to a trio of the biggest players in the game making themselves them “the story." Not for on-the-court heroics or team unity, but for living up to the perception (and probable reality) of what professional sports are: all about me, me and me.
I’m certainly not naïve enough to think the wheel has just been constructed with that last sentence. Pro athletes are pompous, self-centered attention cravers? Perish the thought unholy thought.
And we believed “The NBA Cares” about being humble?
Yet it remains eerily nauseating that the behemoths of the sport could hold their respective teams hostage to get their way year after year. Cameras reserved for on-the-court action had suddenly been transformed into every-minute tickers for sound bytes. What’s so-and-so thinking? Which way is he leaning? Will it actually happen?
Leading the triumphant march to NBA embarrassment was Lebron. After publicly flirting with nearly every team for two years via “sources” (i.e. James’s entourage, WorldWide Wes and James’ agent, Leon Rose), he whisked teams to his posh kingdom to plead their cases.
After slipping on an Olympic-sized poker face and not informing any teams of his decision, he aired a dog-and-pony show from which many have yet to recover.
Not to be outdone, Carmelo Anthony saw the attention Lebron had garnered and wanted a piece of the action. He could hold his own with James in high school and the pros, so why not in the NBA art of public back-and-forth?
For the better part of two years, Anthony demanded to be traded, rescinded the demand and even claimed to have never asked to be moved. However, in the longest New York minute, Melo was moved from Denver to Gotham.
After leaving his birthplace at the age of seven, he was finally coming home.
Can we play the song again?
But, the big daddy of all diva drama, Dwight Howard, might have taken the cake. The directors of The Dwight and the Restless were finally able to announce “scene” on Friday, as Howard packed his bags to La-La Land, which ended a hostage situation that would have made Dog Day Afternoon proud.
After threats of sitting out an entire season, reneging on a promise not to re-sign and bringing the Orlando Magic franchise to its knees, Dwight got his way. In the course of a year, Superman went from one of the most likable guys in the league to a repetitive punchline of egotism.
Historically known for its fluid team dynamics, the NBA has now been reduced to a traveling circus that usually has only one performer.
Neither Melo, Lebron nor Howard was the first pro athlete to be displeased with his contractual situation and Howard certainly won’t be the last.
Be that as it may, what does that say about the state of the league when three of the top five players break out their bonnets, bibs and bottles when they don’t get their ways?
If Howard’s back had held up without surgery, he would have joined Anthony and James in the Olympics. In terms of their talents, how could anyone disagree with these athletes representing our country?
But, when their personal agendas are “the story,” I’ll pass on to better reading material.