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.