I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Former translator for terror leader Osama bin Laden wants LeBron James to apologize to Cleveland.
Bonus to the board: Cats are involved.
Remember all that talk about LeBron James coming to Columbus to support his lil' buddy Terrelle Pryor against Miami? The Ohio State police force denied him an escort, and it turns out without one he's just as scared to enter that Thunderdome-like freakshow as any safety minded opposing fan. Can't say I blame him for not showing without the cops, but hilarious nonetheless.
I can just imagine what Buckeye fans think of LeBron having their quarterback's ear, too. 'Forget the fans, man, just get yours. Go pro!' Yet another reason to be thrilled with Denard, who smiles throughout press conferences, answering questions with, "I was taught saying you're the man...just isn't a good thing to do."
Here's a couple links to some pretty heated opinions on "The King" and what went down:
Lebrons new crib. Pat Rileys old home...
I was intrigued by the whole LeBron free agency process, even though I'm not usually a basketball fan. When he announced that he was going to Miami, I was not surprised, although I initially thought he would go back to Cleveland. Then I got thinking. The NBA has a salary cap, so LBJ had to choose between teams based on other characteristics, because the money was the same no matter where he went, because he was obviously going to get a max deal. What if the free agent market was unrestricted? How much do you think he could have gotten? Would his decision have changed?
I think that Cleveland would have offered much more than any other team in this scenario, because he was everything that team and city had. Gilbert, in losing James, has lost about $100 million in value from the team. New York, Chicago, Miami, and the other teams are all much more valuable, and did not stand to lose so much from missing out. As for actual numbers, I think Lebron's contract could have been over $200 million for about six or seven years. That's well over $30 million a year, and probably one of the biggest in all of sports, at least in America, ever.
I wrote this essay today for friends but figured I would share here, since, uh, you guys like sports and stuff. Not M-related so not a Diary. Facebook chums, it's no different here than there.
A Parade for King James
Here's what we saw: A 25-year-old guy, successful at his career, choosing what he and those around him thought was the best opportunity for his career goals. This happens. A lot. James' entire generation is doing this at about the same age. Granted, nobody's burning our old business-casual button-downs on the way out, but they're not joyously cleaning out our old cubicles either.
Here's what we saw: That first job out of high school or college, who knew they were getting your services cheap because, having no experience, you had no other options, but spoiling you rotten because they knew you were always bigger than them, and they prayed you would one day stay and take over the business.
If you're good, and you're a Millennial, you have seen this all before. Your "interview" probably wasn't televised, but you did at one time sit in the uncomfortably high seat facing everybody, and explained to parents that this is where your career goes next. And they, in turn, stared back with blank eyes and dreams of nigh grandchildren shattered.
He can't come home now? Please. He'll be home again as soon as the laundry needs doing. And then for Christmas. And then maybe years later to start a family. Or maybe his family can move to Florida (Midwestern retirees moving to Florida: groundbreaking stuff).
Millenials move, people. The concept of a home-grown star athlete staying in his hometown and occasionally balling with the local kids is a notion that's was dying for the entirety of the 20th century. The rare guy with some hometown loyalty before the about-to-retire stage is lost among the parade of marketing that seeks to convince us every guy really is worth the investment. They can't all fall in love with the city who drafted them. Not every wunderkind to come out of Cleveland is going to stay in Cleveland.
Ah, but there we have it. Clevelanders, and Detroiters, and Chicagoans, and Ft. Worthicans, not all have split to the winds. Those that remain, the father who was content with his lot, the older brother who couldn't afford college, the sister who got pregnant earlier than she'd planned, and those of us (me included) with the skills to master the world, but too chickenshit to peddle them elsewhere. That's who lives up here. And when you leave, it seems a betrayal.
It's envy is what it is, i.e. the problem isn't with LeBron, but with us. It's we who allowed his handlers to portray him as something transcendent, rather than, as we saw in that gymnasium, just any other young guy, magnificent only in that he can ball. We who expect our celebrities to do what we would never expect of ourselves, to conform to senses of propriety that we know to be ludicrous.
Look, America, you didn't see a seminal moment in anything last night. You saw yourself, exactly what you would look like if placed on a pedestal that you knew to be simply corrugated wood and surrounded by human bunting. You saw in LeBron's face the same look as that Miss Teen America on the July 4 float, waving and smiling because she was told to wave and smile, but mostly just anxious for the crowds to be done ogling and shift their attention to the next float.
Said the dreamers: "Isn't he majestic." Said the cynics: "I hope nobody asks him his plan for world peace." Said the exploitive: "I can't believe people are so dumb they'll pay us for this shit!"
Live in that moment, put yourself on LeBron's chair. You're not thinking about betraying a city. You're thinking about when's the next time you get to play basketball, and maybe how cool your new apartment is gonna be, what your new co-workers will be like, will your friends come and visit?
And you're thinking one more thing: who are the idiots who put up all the bunting, or the bigger idiots who burned paraphernalia, or went whooping around the streets over this? Why in the world would millions of people tune in during Prime Time to watch me utter statements prepared specifically to avoid betraying my real feelings? Why do they care so much?
We care because it's us, LeBron. Because we can't resist a parade. Because we appreciate the absurd, and like to imagine ourselves the Kings of some faraway land but not with all the work that goes into actually being King, and because the closest thing to that in reality is a plain guy born with such spectacular skills as to be worthy of spoiling rotten.
And other than his talent for scoring basketball points, like a lot, you have to admire LeBron's Brittney-esque ability to blandly stare into the cameras, even as he knows better than anyone how ridiculous it all is, just so everyone can have their show. It's unselfish. I like that.
So last night wasn't a big deal, really. It wasn't the end of an icon, or a seminal moment in sport (except for how it will probably affect who wins the NBA seasons). The ballyhoo didn't reveal anything we didn't know about America's viewing habits or capacity for ballyhoo. Roger Stern and ESPN were no more ridiculous in their Jordan-izing of athletic competition that they slamma-jamma ever were. It was a parade, one little down-home spectacle too ooh at before Johnny gets on the train to the Big City, and seeks his fortune, like so many other Johnnies of the Transient Generation.
So is Delonte West still going to be able to see his son-in-law every other weekends and holidays? Or will he only get to stop by and see the little one during his two stops a year in Miami? I'd hate to see a happy family broken up by last night's decision...