The All-Star Game tends to be a crazy week for all NBA superstars who gain entry, but it's a particularly frantic time for anyone playing host. Surely, that would be doubly—maybe even triply—true if the league's best player was the one helping run the show for his hometown squad.
Cleveland is one of the cities making a case for the 2018 All-Star bid, but LeBron James doesn't seem so sure he wants to deal with all the responsibility that would come with such a selection.
"It would be too much for me," the four-time MVP told ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin after a Tuesday afternoon shootaround. "It would be too much for me. I think it would be great for us to host it, but hopefully I'm no good in that year if we get it. I don't want it. My family, friends—I don't want it. Too much."
It's worth noting, as McMenamin does, "the Cavaliers claimed later Tuesday that James was joking," and while some have interpreted it that way, let's take these remarks at face value.
Being James already has to be exhausting.
Not only is he tasked with putting together some incredible performances for the Cavaliers, especially when they're struggling more than expected, but he's the constant subject of media attention. Everything he does gets analyzed, overanalyzed and then over-overanalyzed. The same is true for everything he says, and I'm sure it would be for what he thinks if we had the technology to read his innermost thoughts.
Can you imagine the burden he'd face hosting an All-Star contest in Cleveland? It would be one media appearance after another, and he'd constantly have to be on top of his game. Talk about speeches galore.
Maybe a 25-year-old James could have handled such a situation, but it's a time that would be better served as rest for the version that will be 33 years old and 15 seasons into his career in 2018.
In many ways, whether in jest or in earnest, his sentiments are pretty understandable, and it's not as though anyone can accuse him of being unwilling to help out his hometown team. After all, he did return to the Cavaliers with the intent of ending a championship drought, and he's already helping to revitalize the city's economy.
"James spoke about the possibility of Cleveland securing the winning bid after Wednesday's shootaround," Chris Haynes wrote for Cleveland.com. "He would be happy for the city of Cleveland, but he could foresee ticket requests being problematic."
That's where his reference to his family and friends comes into play. Surely James can deal with all the attention, but he'd be subjecting those closest to him to undue pressure for favors and ticket requests if he did end up having to play host.
But think about it from his perspective—and again, this is assuming he wasn't joking when he originally delivered that quote at shootaround. James is a human being, and his sole purpose on the planet isn't to entertain the rest of the world.
As McMenamin writes, "He [James] was instrumental in the league extending its All-Star break to eight days starting this February after expressing his desire to new commissioner Adam Silver to have more rest amid the league's 82-game season."
Something tells me that rest would be impossible for James during a Cleveland-based set of festivities. And surely he deserves some of that after all he's poured into the sport over the years.