LeBron James' Free Agency: Where Nothing Stranger Than Fiction Happens
Humor me, America.
Come on, everyone knows where LeBron is going by now, haven't you heard? He's staying in Cleveland. If this whole media circus has done anything, it's affirmed how huge LeBron really is.
In spite of all the media hoopla, however, this offseason has given me the perfect celebrity-comparison for LeBron.
LeBron James is the Kanye West of the NBA. You heard me.
What am I referring to here? Is it that Kanye has never won a Grammy for Album/Record of the Year and that LeBron has never won an NBA Championship? Is it that they're both shamelessly attention-starved?
Actually, it's that they both grossly overrate their significance.
Kanye West, in case you've been hiding under a rock, is the sonically gifted, one-time hottest, and single most petulant hip-hop artist in America. His antics range from posing as Jesus on Rolling Stone covers, dubbing himself a "genius", to running on stage at various awards shows after the winner is announced and blathering to anyone who will listen (usually the press) about how much he deserved ____ award.
In the skill department, he also made one of my top five favorite hip-hop albums of all time (In case you're wondering, it's College Dropout). All things considered, no one thinks Kanye West's contributions are more significant than Kanye West.
In the same vein, no one thinks LeBron is more important than, you guessed it, LeBron James. LeBron is doing exactly what he said he'd do—he's weighing his options. But ultimately, none of the allure will beat playing for home.
I actually believe LeBron never intended to leave the Cavs in the first place. It was a match made in heaven from the start—I don't know how much Cleveland's ping pong ball weighed in 2003, but I'm willing to bet it was weighed down with either lead or David Stern's guilt.
LeBron's free agent summer is one part leveraging the Cavaliers for personnel changes and one part massive PR campaign: the NBA, the sports media, and America at large has been hoodwinked. Announcing his destination on ESPN tomorrow was almost as bad as running on stage at the VMA's and completely ruining the biggest moment of a 19 year-old girl's life. Almost.
Media coverage is absolutely rabid. I haven't seen an off-season circus like this since the first Brett Favre comeback. What would have been a slow summer for NBA news (you know it's a slow summer when John Wall starts looking more and more like Jesus) is now hot with discussion, with everyone giving their take and predictions. Tomorrow on ESPN, we get to watch as LeBron spews poetic about Cleveland hitherto unforeseen since the opening of The Drew Carey Show.
Remember, this is the same LeBron who shot a combined 18 for 52 (and two for 13 from beyond the arc) in three straight losses against Boston in the playoffs this year. In related news, the Cavs are shopping Delonte West harder than a three year-old Audi out of warranty.
Amazing NBA player from Akron gets drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers, a comparatively small-town team. He becomes a free agent and sees the allures of the big cities (New York, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles), but ultimately rebuffs all the offers to elevate the profile of his city. It's a great story, America, but you have to wonder if it's almost too great.
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