Man. Is LeBron James a Douche, Or What?

When I first heard about it, the LeBron James one-hour “DECISION” special didn’t seem like that bad of an idea.  Sure, it was an obnoxious concept from the beginning, but I could also appreciate it for its unabashed hat-tip to show biz.  Sports are, after all, a big silly show.

But as the day wore on yesterday, I began to imagine what it would be like to watch as a Cavs fan, and I got increasingly uneasy.  I should also admit that I believed all along that he was going to choose to return to Cleveland.  I mean, who in their right mind would set up an hour long spectacle in order to shit all over their home town?  It’s one thing to leave for greener pastures, but to go that far out of your way to be a dick on the way out of town?  Surely he had to be picking Cleveland.  Right?

Then I saw the “DECISION SPECIAL,” and it was SO MUCH WORSE than anyone could have possibly predicted.

I mean, that was cold.

I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said better by foxier folks than me, but here are a few thoughts that I can’t stop myself from vocalizing:

- One of the things that reeeeally bothers me about this whole thing is the sneaking suspicion that LeBron James actually thought that the whole world would be excited about this.  I think he thought that we’d all shed our previous allegiances, and become Miami Heat fans.  For some reason, this chills me to the bone.  In addition to being an incredible tool, LeBron James might be bat-shit crazy, you guys.  Crazy like the Joker.  I’m literally afraid of LeBron James now.  The best thing we can assume about him is that he’s empty inside.  The worst is….scarier than empty.

- My favorite point about why his decision is icky is this: Superstars are supposed to compete against each other.  They’re not supposed to call each other on the phone and figure out a way that they can all play on the same team.  It’s just not right.  Imagine if Sidney Crosby and Ovechkin called each other on the phone and were all, “You know, it would be a LOT easier to win Cups if we were playing together instead of competing against one another, don’t you think?”  It’s just. plain. WRONG.

- On the other hand, if LeBron James doesn’t have that crazy competitive drive, that’s fine by me.  Seriously.  That’s okay.  I really think it’s alright to be suuuuuuper good at basketball and also have a normal human disposition.  Surely the same competitiveness that makes Kobe and Jordan and Magic “great” on the court also makes them total dicks in their personal lives.  Normal people have doubts, and not everyone wants to be a leader.  This is perfectly fine.  I actually think it’s kind of sweet.  BUT IF YOU’RE NOT THE GUY, YOU CAN’T TATTOO “CHOSEN 1″ ON YOUR BACK AND REFER TO YOURSELF AS KING JAMES.  Everything about that dumb special was presuming that LeBron James is one of the greatest that ever lived, while simultaneously selling a “decision” that made him seem small and insecure. How dumb do you think we are, LeBron James?

There were a few good things that came out of this though:

1. The Cavs owner is cah-razy, and I love it.  I know, I know, he’s stupid and he’s never going to sign another free agent again, and his letter was ridiculous, and he lost ALL credibility when he guaranteed the Cavs would win before LeBron, but still.  In the aftermath of that creepy display of consumerism, it was incredibly refreshing to get a taste of some unadulterated, genuine emotion.  The sad truth is that Gilbert’s lunatic rant felt like the first taste of sanity in a post-LeBron-ESPN-Decision-Special world.  So, now I’m a Cavs fan.

2. We will now have a new way of identifying the truly depraved people of this world.  They will be those wearing Heat jerseys outside of Miami.  I’ve heard a lot of excuses for rooting for the Yankees in Buffalo (“My father rooted for the Yankees, I grew up with them, Buffalo is a losing town I just want to cheer for a winner blah blah blah blah.”), but NO ONE grew up rooting for the Miami Heat.  There is only ONE reason to cheer for the Miami Heat, and that is that you are a GIANT TURD.

3. That ESPN special was so cold, so gross, so narcissistic, so unbelievably disturbing that it felt like a glass of cold water to the face.  It was a wake-up call.  Do not get me wrong, I have NO DOUBT we will ultimately ignore the wake-up call entirely, but I love that everyone in the country is on the same page (the page simply says, “THAT WAS SO FUCKING WRONG”) today.

The disturbing truth is that if LeBron James had said, “I’m sticking with my hometown team, the team I’ve always loved, the Cleveland Cavaliers.  I want to bring a championship to the city where I grew up,” my heart would have swelled with joy, and I would have forgiven LeBron for all the hubris and the narcissism of “The Decision”.  But it would have been wrong of me to forgive him for “The Decision” just because he said the thing I wanted to hear.

I think the ESPN spectacle was more wrong than any decision could have possibly been right.

That horrible sense of self-loathing everyone who watched the special is feeling today?  That’s the guilt-ridden hangover we earned last night.  It’s important.  That hangover is infinitely better than the alternative.  Without this crushing hangover, we might go on, drunk forever on whatever noxious, truly poisonous brew ESPN decides to serve next.

12 Responses to “Man. Is LeBron James a Douche, Or What?”


  1. 1 CrotchetyOriginalSam July 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Knew I picked the right night to go to a St. Paul Saints game instead of staying in and watching ESPN. I feel like the only clean person in the universe today…

  2. 2 James July 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Can you imagine the hatefest in Buffalo if the Sabres had drafted Patrick Kane 1st overall and after 7 years he holds a 1 hour special on VS to say that he’s signing with the Rangers?

    Thankfully, I’m a 76ers fan, so I have a new least favorite NBA team. Although, the Celtics are a close 2nd.

    And I hope that there are some Heat fans that feel a tad dirty over this. As a Yankees fan, I was rooting for Joe Maurer to re-sign with the Twins. I like the Yankees buying up FAs to a point.

    Maurer leaving the Twins would have been wrong even if he signed with the Yankees instead of the Red Sox.

  3. 3 Grrrreg July 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Excellent!

    I’m very happy you wrote this. I’m not a big basketball fan, but I was hoping he’d stay in Cleveland. The whole story is just sad. Watching Cleveland desperatly trying to convince him to stay already felt really wrong to me. And the decision process was utterly ridiculous. When your own team has to come up with a video of you and your friends pictured as “family guy” characters to convince you to sign a multi-million dollars contract, there’s a problem.

    I know no one cares, especially since I’m not really a basketball fan, but from now on I’ll root for the Cavs (I LOVED their owner’s letter), and I’ll cheer against James and the Heat.

  4. 4 MEEEEEE July 9, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    HE is a flatout (insert 50-word cuss word rant here).

  5. 5 Shelby July 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    I’d like to thank LeBron for helping the United States win a gold medal in basketball but other than that? Carry on.

  6. 6 Tony C. July 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    “Prime-time” is the correct wording and the reason he did it as well. Better yet “showtime”.
    Charity…… please! A “look at me” broadcast under the guise of helping kids? A gesture of goodwill or preemptive maneuvering?
    This has been planned for years possibly, regardless of his claims. Just a coincidence he’s changing his number and replacing a number the heat already has hanging?
    The media and all the blow hard commentators got in LeBrons head with all that rhetoric about “rings” and that he’ll never be a great player until he has multiple rings. It’s nonsense, But he’s chasing Micheal and Kobe, chasing Larry Bird and the like because he bought into that notion. It’s not a championship he’s after, it’s immortality, he’s blinded by it.
    Be careful what you wish for King James, you just might get it.
    The NBA had better get control of these players before it’s irreversible.

  7. 7 leah July 9, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    I live in Cleveland, and it was sad how everyone here kissed his butt. Despite his talent, I was never a huge fan myself; I always thought his ego was taking over the Q. I think having a special just to announce he was leaving Cleveland, when his decision was probably made a week ago, was a jerk move. I always thought he was cocky, but come on…

  8. 8 CrotchetyOriginalSam July 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

    Just because I believe in balance, here’s a pretty excellent counterpoint to what all of NBA Nation seems to be feeling about this:

    http://deadspin.com/5583152/counterpoint-lebron-james-is-not-a-cocksucker

  9. 9 Browndog July 9, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Kate-

    I’ve tried to write any number of comments to give voice to my dismay over “The Decision”.

    Jesus Christ, did he really mean to link his departure to other great moments of despair in Cleveland sports history (i.e. ”
    The Drive”, “The Fumble”). Is he that tone deaf and self-absorbed? I guess the answer is yes…

    I’ve spent the better part of last night and this evening reading opinion pieces and blog comments (I have no life) on this matter and I’m not sure I can understand the mind of a sports fan who thinks that LeBron’s conduct is anything less than shameful and dishonorable.

    He’s entitled to play where he wants and with who he wants. But to leave town…HIS TOWN, in such a craven and heartless manner speaks volumes to his lack of character.

    I pray to god that when the Bills go, the powers that be remember that all the good will that has been built up over the years can be pissed away in a moment. Please don’t do us the way Lebron did Cleveland.

    All that aside, when it comes right down to it, we as fans are “Charlie Brown” while the owners and players are “Lucy Van Pelt”.

    Doesn’t mean I’ll stop watching, listening to or reading about sports…after all what’s a Cleveland fan to do except pick themselves up off the ground and take another run at the ball.

    Browndog

  10. 10 Phil July 10, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    It’s descriptions like your’s, Kate, that special that makes me glad I didn’t watch a single second of it.

  11. 11 Reese July 19, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I absolutely cannot stand LeBron after this. Would you like to know how I got to this blog? I google searched “lebron is a douche”. I know someone who won’t be welcome in Cleveland.

    On a side note, about Joe Mauer: there was not a shot in hell the Yankees were getting their greedy little paws on him. He was always going to stay in Minnesota because unlike LeBron, Joe is a classy guy, as shown by the fact that he (the top all star vote getter this year) did not host a TV special to announce his decision, even that he was staying with the Twins. And sure, they’re different situations, but LeBron could stand to take a few pages out of Mauer’s book; hell, he should plagiarize the whole thing.

    I can only hope the Cavs/Bulls/anyone completely destroy the Heat, even though I know that won’t happen.

  12. 12 wilson October 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Lebron is a complete jerk for pulling a stunt like that. I’ve always thought that he’s a classless ego maniac ever since he joined the league. The NBA should really start banning high school players. They should go back to promoting “Stay in School”.


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