Free Agency in the NBA has turned into the WWE.
Some do it the right way (Kevin Durant), some have learned to do it the right way (Kobe Bryant after making ESPN his own television channel when he almost left the Lakers back in 2005) but LeBron James? Just doesn’t get it.
If holding an entire city hostage for over two years and telling them that you might release them from their captivity on a “decision day” isn’t a cheap way of breaking up with someone, tell me differently. If making yourself bigger than the sport merely because people have been blowing BP oil up your rectum since middle school isn’t cheap (and also pretty arrogant), tell me differently. Sadly, you can’t.
Fact is, there aren’t any real winners in the LeBron James Reality TV Show. I wanted to call it “The LeBrachelorette” but Bill Simmons already swiped “The LeBrachelor”. Hijacking ESPN for an hour and let the media show the world what a true verbal tip kissing contest looks like tops it off. Even if he decides to join the team of “superstar” Dwyane Wade and “good second fiddle” Chris Bosh or even lands himself in New York to try and resurrect the Knicks from their own failures as a franchise or the “nice” move of staying in Cleveland, there’s no real interest in LeBron the player anymore.
Understand this, not once all season did LeBron seem like winning a championship was on his list. No, becoming a free agent was. The Dr. J “super nice” gene rolled inside of him like the human centipede and stayed there for four months and when that “killer instinct” decided to show up – it was too late. Yes, I’ll be in the crowd of Houston Rockets fans who seem a little put off by the fact that Les Alexander and Darryl Morley picked up no big named free agents but I’ll also be in the crowd of overall NBA fans who wishes it were just a basketball association again.
Instead, players are more concerned about building brands and creating legacies off the court instead of winning, skipping step two of the Michael Jordan Steps to Becoming A Global Icon. Step one was to do a series of unforeseen things on a basketball court, set records and get close to tasting victory. Step two was to actually win. For seven years we’ve been pushed on this LeBron train as if we were granted such a privilege to watch him play basketball. The return for it? Two MVP awards, one conference championship, building the city of Cleveland back into a basketball town, one NBA Finals sweep (2007), one Jordan Crawford dunk at a basketball skills camp, one reference by Pusha T of the Clipse, one alleged rumor of Delonte West & Gloria James. In other words: not much winning there.
No matter where he goes, somebody is losing. And if it’s Cleveland, I’m prepared to see a story on CNN about mass suicides and secession talks to Canada with Rick Perry brokering the deal.
For all other things, tune into ESPN today at 9 PM EST for the final episode of “One LeBron To Live”.