Saturday, July 10, 2010

L.B.J. (What Does It Mean?) - Winners/Losers/Reaction

Bill Simmons of ESPN called it the LeBronApocalypse. The reverberations of July 8, 2010 are gonna be felt for years to come just like July 1, 1996. So in the spirit of the Sports Guy, here's the winner and losers.


LeBron James - Cut to the chase, beneath the BS of his process, he won because he chose the best chance of winning over money and staying home. He sacrificed his on-court ego for the Superfriends. New jersey, new team, same dream.

Dwyane Wade - He becomes the Alpha Dog Superstar. LBJ and Chris Bosh came to his team, he's still The Man and better yet, his reputation grows even bigger. He's no villain, in fact, he's arguably alone with Kobe, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant as a superstar.

Pat Riley - Nearly 3 decades after Showtime, he's still making moves. Biggest power broker in the NBA (World Wide Wes who?). Erik Spolestra, Stan Van Gundy's on Line 1 telling you watch your back.

Miami - Welcome back to respectability. 4 years after Shaq and D-Wade brought you a ring, you're poised for the best run you've had since Tim Hardaway and Alonzo ran the city for years.

The NBA - Promotions galore? Sellouts around the country? Hype, Hype, Hype!! Oh YES, David Stern is happy as he's been since Jordan's final season. Ratings through the roof, casual fans tuning in, not to mention a highly competitive season.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers - While the Evil Three celebrate, the Black Mamba chills with his army. If Pau Gasol dominated Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard, how will he fare against Chris Bosh, a far weaker version of the two. Oh and Miami needs to figure out how to fill up that bench besides Mario Chalmers and Mike Miller.

Did I mention the Lakers just got a boat load of new fans rooting to take out the 3-headed Hydra? For Kobe haters, they hate LeBron even more and its picking the lesser of 2 evils. More motivation for the 3-peat. If Derek Fisher doesn't get his deal from the Lakers then this goes for naught. Memo to Mitch Kupchak. Make. It. Happen.

Kevin Durant - quiet as kept on Twitter, he re-upped with Oklahoma City ensuring they'll run the West along with Portland and Houston. Give them a quality big man and they'll get a ring faster than Miami.

He also endeared himself to more fans. Showing up to summer league games for his team? Putting in work in the gym after signing? He gets it.


LeBron James - Where to start. He becomes a villain (Darth Vader, the 2nd half of Richard III) and is the NBA's answer to A-Rod, its greatest talent with zero team hardware. His reputation will never be the same as a King, but rather a talented, unselfish PG that couldn't do it on his own.

That's not a bad thing considering it didn't tarnish the legacies of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone (peep his 1982-83 Philadelphia squad of 4 All-Stars and the 6th Man of the Year), Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin Garnett. Not every star stays with one squad. But outside of Shaq/Moses/Kareem, all of them weren't in their prime. They all had chances to be the man and when they couldn't, they went elsewhere to win.

It's true for LeBron, but the backlash of his announcement has turned him into Darth James. The love is gone, enter the hate and resentment. He'll be hated worse than Kobe for his oversized ego in planning this whole charade. It was a celebration of himself and his empire, which leads me to...

ESPN: The Worldwide Leader of Sports has blurred the line with sports and entertainment before. They've been accused of favoritism, bias and being the story instead of reporting it. Thursday, it all came to a head.

Journalistic integrity was lost as they not only hosted this charade, but allowed for LeBron advertising to dominate the airwaves. (via Vitamin Water or McDonald's). My dude Stu Scott was painfully guilty of hyperbole and if not for Michael Wilbon's and Jon Barry's perspective, it would be the worst public foreplay in a while.

ESPN's been pumping this dude up since 2002 when they showed him and Carmelo facing off in high school. They've been feeding into the hype machine for 8 years so it's no surprise they publicly sold their soul for a 1-hour special that felt all shades of dirty compromise. They made this bed, laid in it and in the end, the network looked like a prostitute instead of a news station.

Amar'e Stoudemire -After LeBron's announcement, it was announced David Lee left the New York Knicks in a sign and trade with Golden State. Soon after, Chris Duhon left to sign with Orlando.

So what did Amar'e gain this week? A $100M contract to play for a team with no PF to ease the burden and no PG to run the team and give him the ball. Oh, but he's back with the coach he didn't win anything with. Have fun in mediocrity - anybody seen Shawn Marion, Boris Diaw or Quentin Richardson lately?

(By the way, this makes Steve Nash all the more valuable)

We the fans - I asked on Twitter if we're partly to blame for LeBron's ego. But it can apply to any famous athlete who we've built up and watch become a villain. Like Jay-Z said, "First they love you, then they hate you, then they leave you alone"

We worship the cult of personality created by the media and our interest. We build people up to be bigger than are. We tell kids that they are the most important people around, throw our hopes into them and make them out to be saviors. But then we get mad when they don't follow our plan or throw it away (Painfully obvious this past week with Lindsay Lohan)

Welcome to Frankenstein. Dr. Frankenstein makes a monster that he hopes to control but ends up watching it lose control b/c it began to think for its own and become independent. We can't control people yet we feed into someone having a bigger sense of identity.

So we lost too. Sportswriter Will Leitch (one of the best today) said it best - we idolize people who are nothing like us and project ourselves onto them. Only problem is they have a brain too and will take our praise and run with it.

Cleveland - 1964 was the last time they won a professional sports title. They won't win another for another decade at least.

Cavs owner Dan Gilbert - We went nuts over his ether to LeBron. Then realized it was self-ether because he pampered and coddled his "King" by hiring a favorable coach and trading for parts that didn't fit. You mad? Look in the mirror and realize this is your fault. Loyalty is about winning and you made LeBron's decision easier acting like a jilted lover.

Knicks/Nets - Waited two years for what? To be way out of the running despite Jay-Z, incredible cap space, overload of $$$ from the Nets owner and the Knicks doing everything to set up for this day.

Epic failure. And no sign of getting out of irrelevancy for a while. Sorry Knicks/Nets fans.

The NBA landscape has changed big time. It's the Rise of the Six Lord Darth James and the Evil Empire orchestrated by Gordon Gekko Himself, Pat Riley. Will it be fun to watch? You bet. But bet your money on the Lakers not being ready to give up the throne and Boston ready for one more run as the Beasts of the East

LeBronApocalypse will be felt for years to come like July 1, 1996 (the day Shaq came to the Lakers and ushered in a shift from the East to the West). But it's bigger than basketball as the world watched his decision, it reminded us that winning no longer is a requirement to make you a brand. Just hype and buzz.

We are all witnesses AND participants in this disgusting ego trip. It exposed what we've done for years but too bad the outrage won't change anything.

1 comment:

  1. Amen all around.
    I especially appreciate your points on ESPN and us, the fans.