LeBron James “Decision” crappy move in more ways than one.

July 15, 2010

Bad decision, James.

“LeBron is now the guy you openly root against. If he leaves Cleveland tomorrow night, he’ll have needlessly strung along an entire fanbase and given them the middle finger by making their breakup spectacularly public. If he stays, he’ll have spent two years cockteasing the rest of the world about going somewhere else when he probably never wanted to leave Ohio to begin with. There’s no end result tomorrow that makes LeBron a sympathetic figure. He’s already gone past the point of no return. He’s a cocksucker. Fitting that his most memorable career moment will come when he doesn’t even take a fucking shot. He’s a guy that cares more about the end result of playing basketball – massive, unending adulation – than he does actual basketball.”

-Drew Magary, Associate Editor, Deadspin

Amidst a sea of hoopla, this is the truest piece of writing I’ve read about the so-called “Decision” of basketball superstar and free agent, LeBron James. Honestly, do I even need to recap it for you? After months of hype, the 25-year old athlete pimped his former team, and in some respects most everyone else, by staging a media spectacle to announce he would be playing for the Miami Heat next year. ESPN hosted the event, knowing it would be a heavily watched affair, which it was.

I don’t have the numbers and, frankly, I don’t give a shit. Yes, I looked in, while cooking an omelet. I felt a little like a ghoul slowing down to observe a train wreck. Only this was more weird than painful. The first 15 minutes had ESPN doing obligatory montages and panel discussion. Then came the King himself, sitting uncomfortably amidst a group of bewildered and silent members from the Boys and Girls Club of Connecticut. Connecticut? ESPN Silverback, Jim Gray fed the King grapes for questions before finally asking for and getting the “Decision.” To paraphrase LeBron: “I’m going to be taking my talents to South Beach.”

At this point the world more or less began disliking LeBron James, many of us for the first time. Not only did he make a garish choice in Miami but he also made it garishly. Despite fronting for charity, the “Decision” felt completely narcissistic. When James told Jim Gray he did what he did because it gave him “the best chance at being happy” I cringed. In other words, then, making 100 million dollars to play for the Knicks, Bulls or his hometown Cavaliers would not make him happy? What a totally self-absorbed thing to say. Asinine too. You’d think his handlers or “posse” would have told him better. Or what about his beloved mom in Akron? She should have hit him upside his head for making a damn fool of himself. No doubt she thinks her son is the Messiah as well.

As the Deadspin piece articulates so well, LeBron has become a villain. The TV event actually reminded me of those staged interviews where the good guy wrestler suddenly goes ballistic, turning into a villain. But that’s fakey bullshit. LeBron and ESPN took themselves seriously. So, it’s serious bullshit.

With the “Decision,” LeBron James jumped the shark and he took his brand with him. Do we really want to watch LeBron and his Super Friends run the table? Maybe for some. But for me it will only be fun if they lose. And even that would get depressing. I’m afraid, whether LeBron wins or loses on the basketball court, he’s already bombed miserably in the court of popular opinion.

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13 Responses to “LeBron James “Decision” crappy move in more ways than one.”

  1. jim schmidt said

    most athletes, movie stars, rock stars, politicos and yes, many ad folks are self-absorbed assholes. no matter how much money they make they still lead shallow lives cause all they care about are themselves. in short, they are ron burgundy in the real world. problem is, they’re not funny, they’re sad.

  2. Juu said

    What’s wrong with wanting to be surrounded by the best in your industry? If goodby, wieden, bogusky started a boutique agency and asked you to join, wouldn’t you want to? Happens on wall street, talent agencies, law firms, real estate all the time.

    • SRP said

      Nothing wrong with it…
      But making it into a spectacle crossed lines and did him more harm than good. Short term, anyway. In the end I wonder in his shoes what would I have done and how would I have done it?

  3. jim schmidt said

    Juu, it’s not what he did, it’s how he did it. Most people assumed he was going to play with Wade. So why all the false drama?

  4. arwa said

    this whole situation just reminds me of when Shaq left the Lakers for Miami.

  5. Michael Franzese said

    Really? I’ve been listening to all of this back and forth for a couple of weeks now and really don’t see why people are so fired up. I’m no huge basketball fanatic so maybe I’m not getting it, but watching from the sidelines “brand LeBron” seems to have done what’s best for “brand LeBron” and I won’t fault him for it.

    He hyped everything to a point people in advertising and marketing dream about. Everyone’s talking about him all the time. Villain or good guy doesn’t really matter does it? Not in the big picture.

    Here’s a guy who’s talent and fans built him up into some sort of mega-brand and when he acts in, what he believes, is the best interest of that brand we’re going to call him a “cocksucker” and whine the way Drew Magary does? Just sounds like sour grapes to me. He played the media and the fans they way they love to be played. And he and ESPN cashed in.

    Of course he cares about “unending adulation” it’s what his fans, owners, writers and the business of basketball has taught him to do. If it was all about “actual basketball” (please) there wouldn’t be any money involved.

    Isn’t the ultimate goal actually winning a championship? He’s given Cleveland plenty of time to bring in the players and coaches to get him there. Now he’s decided to move on for more money and a better shot a championship.

    In a year or so when LeBron gets into and wins a championship the people of Cleveland will hate it, but the people of Miami will love it and him. And those of us in other towns will only care if our team is involved. He’s still getting into the Hall of Fame. People, including Drew Magary, will still call him one of the greats.

    Why all the false drama? Because that’s what’s good for “brand LeBron” and in the end that’s what matters to him and it should, shouldn’t it?

  6. Ed Kleban said

    Great comment from David Israel in Maureen Dowd’s Sunday NYT article. Paraphrasing, “Never has anyone spent so much time, money and effort to diminish oneself quite like LeBron.”

  7. Greg Holcomb said

    I don’t fault LeBron for his move to leave Cleveland and join forces in Miami. It’s obvious he needed to put himself in the best possible position to win multiple titles, something all professional athletes aspire to accomplish.

    However, I completely agree that the “Decision” (or “LeBronocalypse”) was a complete joke and absolutely unnecessary. Why bring such national attention to a frickin’ announcement with little importance and even less significance, given the dying state of the NBA (ratings down a staggering 55% since Mike left)? Sure, it’s one of the top athletes in all of professional sports deciding his future. But so what? This wasn’t a sit down with Jeremy Schapp interviewing legendary hoops coach Bob Knight. This wasn’t Suzy Kolber’s sideline interview with a hammered Joe Namath. This was a guy simply announcing what NBA team he’d be playing for. I mean, for those of you who follow the NBA, how could you not see this coming? You didn’t have to tune in to find out what was going to eventually happen. A few weeks after the 2008 Summer Olympics, the hottest rumor was that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Chris Paul became such good friends during the 2007 Olympic trials, and then during their 2008 Olympics excursion in Beijing, that they actually made a pact in China to play together. You know, like one of those pacts in a chick flick where two friends agree to get married if both of them are single when they turn 40. Unfortunately, sports media Goliath ESPN threw chum in the water and the majority of the sports world (9.95 million viewers) sharks swarmed and ate it up. I’m sure their must have been a repeat episode of the Hills on during the same time.

  8. brian said

    I still say the great ones do alone.

  9. SRP said

    Very funny skit from the ESPYs parodying LeBron’s Decision: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtIaMr2hGeI

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