LeBron James: ESPN's Love Affair With LeBrick

Eriq La SalleContributor IOctober 14, 2010

GREENWICH, CT - JULY 08:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE)  Jim Gray of ESPN speaks with LeBron James at attends the LeBron James Pre Decision Meet and Greet on July 8, 2010 in Greenwich, Connecticut. Proceeds from tonight's 2.5 million dollar event will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Estabrook Group)
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

I'm not sure what's more annoying, Stuart Scott's influence over Neil Everett, or ESPN.com's "Heat Index".  Why, God, why?  What did I do to deserve this?  From "The Decision," to reporting on LeBrick's bum hammy, ESPN has completely forsaken journalistic objectivity and descended into the world of Fox News and MSNBC. 

Allow me to use this article to vent my frustrations.  Read on if you want, but with caution....

Remember me? I've been the biggest LeBrick James hater on the web.  I admit that I'm biased towards Kobe, and it's his "dethroning" by "The King" that has made me an even bigger hater. 

Of course ESPN has had their hand in this all along.  The media's obsession with LeBrick gets worse and worse.  Thankfully, fans have seen his true nature and ESPN's real intent.  I realize that I've been away for quite a while, but I'm back to make up for lost time.

Let's start with today, October 14, 2010.  ESPN is showing it's Top Ten highlights from yesterday. LeBrick was injured and didn't play in the Heat's PRESEASON game, but that didn't stop ESPN from incorporating his name as much as it did. And that was just in the top 10 highlights, two of which featured dunks from Chris "The-Greatest-Big-Man-Since-Wilt" Bosh that were "Ok" at best.  I bring this point up to illustrate that ESPN will do whatever it can to incorporate LeBrick into their program.  Thus Bosh, by association with LeBrick, has raised his sports value by an enormous amount.

Although this is the most recent event, acts like this have been going on for years, but they were limited to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Mo Williams was the next coming of Bob Cousy, Anderson Varejao was similar to Dennis Rodman, Antwan Jamison would play the role of James Worthy, etc, etc.  Blah, blah, blah. 

ESPN has had us believing that the Cavs of the past two years were the greatest team since...the Cavs of the previous year.  Any team with LeBrick is the greatest, right?  Look at that pass by LeBrick!  Gosh, he makes his teammates SO much better than that ballhog who plays for The Lakers.  Look at LeBrick shoot that jumper on Sportscenter.  He's an even better shooter than Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, and that white guy from Duke. 

That's what it's been like watching ESPN the last couple of years during the months from October to May. 

Then something funny happened two years in a row.

Mo Williams wasn't a great defender, Anderson Varejao was a mediocre offensive player, and players like Antwan Jamison were, well, like Antwan Jamison.  LeBrick was still the greatest, but he lacked a great supporting cast, at least according to ESPN.  I would feel bad for these players and the city of Cleveland, but they were just as guilty of shoving LeBrick down our throats as much as ESPN did. 

But I digress. 

ESPN's anchors have been so openly biased towards LeBrick, so fawning in his "abilities," that it makes Sean Hannity appear to be objective when discussing Ronald Reagan. Neil Everett is the worst offender (Stuart Scott will be addressed in another article).  Neil's knees are in worse condition than Gary Carter's because he's been the Monica Lewinsky to LeBrick's Bill Clinton. Not only are his sayings not funny, but his journalistic integrity is on par with Tiger Woods' marital integrity.  He's the worst offender on Sportscenter BY FAR! All the other anchors are nameless to me since they all say the same thing as Neil, but are more tempered in their delivery.  Listen to Neil talk about LeBrick and you'd think it was a school girl with a crush on the jock-king of the high school. 

Next time you're watching Sportscenter, see just how "objective" the anchors are when it comes to LeBrick James.  Sportscenter, where oh where would you be without LeBrick James and Brett Favre?  I can just see that in 10 years, ESPN will be treating LeBrick the same way they treat Brett.

It would be nice if my critique stopped at Sportscenter, but it doesn't.  ESPN.com now has something called a "Heat Index".  "Heat Index"???  What the hell is that??  They have a nickname for a webpage dedicated to a team that hasn't even stepped foot onto a regular season basketball court?  Is this the dream team?  And then you have commentators like Bill "the LeBron-Kobe-debate-is-over-because-I-hate-the-Lakers" Simmons, John Hollinger, and David Thorpe writing valued articles detailing how much better LeBrick is than Kobe.  LeBrick is a force to be reckoned with.  LeBrick's first step is unguardable.  LeBrick has Wayne Gretzky-like vision when it comes to passing and making his teammates better. 

Did you know that Hollinger has created a mathematical formula designed to evaluate which players are better than others? 

No joke. This guy, who admittedly has never played pro-basketball, is now an "expert" on NBA players?  Bill Simmons, the self-proclaimed "Sports Guy" from Boston who hates anything and everything Lakers, is allowed to post his hate-filled Kobe rants without an opposing opinion.  David Thorpe, who might have the closest pro-basketball experience...i.e. stretching their backs and working on their core strength, is fully convinced that LeBrick has better basketball skills than Kobe. 

All these idiots spout off the same thing:  LeBrick doesn't have Kobe's selfishness, LeBrick doesn't have Kobe's arrogance...blah, blah.  You know what else LeBrick doesn't have?  A ring. 

You know what's funny?  A recent poll of NBA general managers (managers who are up close and personal with the league and probably former players) showed exactly how out of touch ESPN is with their opinions on the NBA.  According to ESPN, LeBrick James has surpassed Kobe Bryant not only offensively, but DEFENSIVELY!  All ESPN does is show LeBrick James blocking peoples shots from behind.  You'd think that LeBrick James is the most amazing defensive player since Bill Russell.  But then the GM survey came out, and when asked who is the best on-ball defender, LeBrick was nowhere to be found.  In fact, on the who's-who defensive survey, LeBrick's name appears once ONCE!

Apparently he's very good at defending the passing lanes.  Aha!  I've got it.  This explains why he's such a poor one-on-one defender. He's too busy cheating off his man.  But don't tell ESPN that.  And the GMs? They get their info from players and coaches. 

Yes, I realize LeBrick has now been voted to the All-defensive 1st team two years in a row but c'mon! At the end of the day he's not respected as a great individual defender. 

I've butchered LeBrick's game in so many ways, it's not even fun anymore.

Recently ESPN.com pulled an article about him partying in Vegas. Why? Their reasoning was suspect at best.  Reading the article showed me exactly why ESPN would pull it—  the same reason Nike confiscated that tape of Jordan Crawford dunking on LeBrick—it would shatter his all too perfect image. 

Then there's "The Decision", in which all proceeds went to a charity of LeBrick's choice.  Nice gesture to save face, LeBrick, but even that couldn't save you as you went on to speak in third person while being interviewed, i.e. "LeBron has to do what's best for LeBron".  Huh? Doesn't anyone at ESPN have the guts to tell him and his "crew" that he's just humiliating himself? 

Of course not.  They don't want to hurt his feelings.