OT: Lebron: "Who wants half my sandwich?" Excellent dissection of James.

Submitted by wolverine1987 on July 10th, 2010 at 12:29 PM

I know there have been a few posts on James and his decision, but I thought this article, in the L.A. Times entertainment business blog, was worthy of linking. The writer had spent some time interviewing James and commented on his large entourage as follows:

"When someone brought a tray of sandwiches for everyone to snack on before LeBron did an interview with Jay Leno, LeBron eyed the sandwiches, deciding he only wanted half of one. "Who wants half of my sandwich?" he asked. Everyone's hand went up. Apparently his entire posse was positively craving half a sandwich. I suspect if LeBron had asked if anyone wanted to dump a bucket of Gatorade over Jay Leno's head, just as many hands would've shot up."

Entitled "Did Lebron James just Jump the Shark?" (scroll down a bit on the linked page) it makes some valid points regarding what IME, was the freak show we saw on ESPN the other night. 

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/

Comments

psychomatt

July 10th, 2010 at 12:42 PM ^

It will all come down to how many titles he wins. If they go on a run, LJ will get a pass. If they stumble and he only wins one or two total, not only will he have jumped the shark but the shark will have taken a major bite out of his ass as he flew over.

jmblue

July 10th, 2010 at 1:03 PM ^

If he wins a title, ESPN/ABC and the NBA will try to do damage control because they have to, but in the court of public opinion he'll never regain the favor he once had.  You can compare this to A-Rod holding out for that gigantic contract a decade ago.  His image forever changed from a likeable young star to an overpaid spoiled brat, and he's never lived it down.  Certainly, Cleveland, New York and Chicago fans will never get over this.

GVBlue86

July 10th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

I think this whole thing will be remembered as one of the most transcendant off the court moments in sports history. Either that or it will begin a frightening pattern of narcissism in star athletes. I go with the former, because after the disgust being shown towards him following all this, no one in their right mind would do the same thing again.

Zone Left

July 10th, 2010 at 12:51 PM ^

Yeah, James just went too far.  No athlete's handlers will allow one to do that again.  Besides, an athlete with his stature only comes along every few years, so there are very limited opportunities to have such an epic FAIL moment.  The last one was Roger Clemens' free agent press conference, but that wasn't anywhere near as bad.  He didn't put on an hour show to create that moment.

In football, would have been like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady doing that 3-5 years ago.

those.who.stay.

July 10th, 2010 at 7:50 PM ^

is that there is now so much hype surrounding the league with the word "superstar" is being thrown around so often that the on-court product must match the hype or the only fans the NBA will have left will be 11 year old boys.

The end of Game 7 of the finals this year was just boring as hell. Shoot free throws to see who will win the NBA championship... Professional basketball sucks.

Big Boutros

July 10th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

I think LeBron grossly underestimated the American public's propensity to gauge successes, failures, and decisions against both the historical and hypothetical Michael Jordan. He seems to think a ring is a ring is a ring. He's wrong.

VectorVictor05

July 11th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

I don't think his point was that going pro straight from high school = no drive.  Kobe wasn't on national TV as a 16 year-old, wasn't on the cover of SI as a senior in high-school, was drafted in the middle of the first round, and was NOT crowned "King Kobe" upon entering the NBA.  I think that was his point...

VectorVictor05

July 11th, 2010 at 1:33 PM ^

Although I agree with your point that Jordan and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Kobe have the drive and "it" factor that Lebron does not have.  However, I always laugh when the "Jordan was cut from his high school team" card is played.  He was "cut" from the varsity squad as a sophomore because he wasn't even 6' tall at the time.  He played JV (like most sophs do) and tore it up.  This "legend" has been retold so many times it's made to seem like he wasn't good at basketball in high school until he got cut and had to practice real hard to prove those a-holes wrong.

jackrobert

July 10th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

I agree about Game 5 being the real issue.  "The Decision" was awkward and, yes, self-aggrandizing, but it didn't really get under my skin all that much.  It was about what I expected, so I was neither insulted nor offended.  Plus, it's kind of fun to watch Jim Gray and Stu Scott look like absolute fools.

Nor do I consider LeBron's decision to leave the Cavs a betrayal, let alone a cowardly one.  He didn't owe Cleveland anything when it came to deciding where to sign.  LeBron did, however, owe Cleveland his best effort in Game 5 and he clearly didn't provide that.  I'm sure many suspect that Game 5 shows the South Beach fix was in long ago.  I doubt that's the case, but it does show that LeBron doesn't have great leadership abilities--at least not yet.  Perhaps this is why he wants to play with Wade, who is cut out of the Jordon mold whereas LeBron strikes me more as a Magic type (as Bill Simmons has argued, Magic didn't fully develop his killer instinct until after the Lakers lost to the Celtics in 1984).

I've found Gilbert's childish antics much more problematic than the theatrics surrounding LeBron's decision.  As many have pointed out, Gilbert had no problem seducing Izzo away from his home state and Gilbert's own alma mater, but now he's calling LeBron a coward and a Benedict Arnold.  Another f'ing ridiculous Sparty moment.

I also find it odd that quite a few of us (i.e., MGoBloggers) have jumped on the LeBron-betrayed-his-home-town bandwaggon, despite our universal criticism of the RichRod-betrayed-his home-state meme propogated by the MSM.  RichRod had every right to break his contract (and to try to get a potentially punitive buyout clause declared unenforceable), and LeBron had every right to sign with the Heat.  It's business, not personal.

Steve Lorenz

July 10th, 2010 at 1:20 PM ^

LeBron is not a narcissist. He's a young man who is vulnerable to the whims of the selfish members of the team he has surrounded himself with. Just because he's a great athlete doesn't mean he's susceptible to people taking advantage of his name. They look at him and they see dollar signs, which is how this "Decision" was brought about in the first place. He's an absolute cash cow.....I mean, people are still and will continue to discuss his decision from almost every angle possible, regardless of what team or player you are personally affiliated with. I remember Simmons always talking about the "Mom Test" in pertaining to sports events and the news conference on Thursday absolutely passed; I went into the living room to turn it on and found my mom scrambling to find what channel it was on. Suffice to say she's not usually into anything sports at all. Was it an awful production? Of course it was. But many many people tuned in anyways, which was the goal in the first place for his team. 

He's the same guy who when winning his MVP award brought the entire Cavs team on stage with him. From a basketball standpoint he made a smart decision. If he had gone back to Cleveland, all these other criticisms that have appeared would be almost non-existent. But because he decided to make a basketball decision that is much more beneficial to his career, the naysayers come in droves to pile on top of him about everything else. He goes from the guy being criticized for not taking the big shot and being an unselfish player to being labeled as the most selfish athlete in sports. 

In short, I am just annoyed by all of these types of articles. If people opened their eyes they'd realize guys like Maverick Carter look at James and the dollar signs in their eyes light up. Once they put numbers in his head he's bound to go along with it, just like you or I would if we were arguably the most marketable athlete in sports history. 

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 1:33 PM ^

Yes, he used logic and reason to make an entirely flawed argument that boils down to this: Lebron just did what his advisors told him to do so its ok.  Blame them, don't blame the guy who agreed and did it.  And oh, BTW, we have no idea who directed that charade, for all anyone knows, Lebron not only bought in, he could have driven some of the decisions.

Dark Blue

July 10th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

Well, your view on this topic is already pretty clear. You were probably one of the dipshits burning his jersey Thursday night.

First of all I am in no way, shape, or form a Cavs fan, nor am I a Lebron James fan. However I thought it was an absolutely pathetic display put on by Mr. James. If Lebron had been a Piston, then yeah maybe I would've burned my jersey. I happen to be a fairly passionate sports fan, and betrayal doesn't sit well with me.

MCalibur

July 10th, 2010 at 2:51 PM ^

The whole betrayal thing comes off as a bit naive, sorry; but I get it. When it comes from multi-millionaires, it's two faced. Dan Gilbert wanted Tom Izzo to "betray" Michigan State. Dan Gilbert "betrayed" Mike Brown by firing him after winning the most games in franchise history. Cleveland fans cheered when Derek Anderson got hurt a few years ago. How many fans are loyal when a guy is struggling, I mean, really struggling. Not many.

I think the special was BS, too. But that's what America devours now. We loves us a spectacle, yo. People said Kobe would never get another endorsement deal. I'll believe that people won't get over this when I see it. 

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 1:59 PM ^

disrespect your motive in making it. To be clear, Lebron had the freedom to leave Cleveland, and I don't have one single thing negative to say about that move. He should play wherever he believes the best place for him is, and if that's Miami, so be it. It's the way he did it that I and others object to, not the move itself.

03 Blue 07

July 10th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

You do realize there was only ONE person in the entire world who without a doubt had the ability to say either "Yes, this will happen on this ESPN special if ESPN wants it," or "no, it won't happen this way":

Lebron James himself. No one else.

*FTR: Not a Cavs fan; hate Ohio.

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

He is only "susceptible" to the whims of his advisors if he lets himself be.  He's not a normal 25 year old, he's a man that has been in the spotlight for 10 years, and has a responsibility to understand right and wrong behavior. Why would you absolve him of that?  And you say "he's not a narcissist?" What would you call someone who refers to HIMSELF as "King James?"

Steve Lorenz

July 10th, 2010 at 1:36 PM ^

I'd believe I was a King if every person in my ear was telling me that since I was 15 years old. No other athlete has ever been regarded or treated in the way this guy has. You have to look at him differently than others because of it. I'm not absolving him completely, but I definitely am not anywhere near the level that some of these journalists are. 

You also can't underestimate the influence of savvy businesspeople like Carter and Rose. You think it's a coincidence that he's opened a twitter account and launched a website in the last two weeks? Do you think that was solely his idea? It's all strategy to make these guys more money. Of course he has to go along with it, but that doesn't mean it's representative of him as a person in general. 

I guess it's just amazing to me to hear all these arguments coming from a moral standpoint when one can't speak to what they would do if they were in his position. Fame and fortune changes people. Yes, even LeBron James. I'm just not going to hate him for it. 

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

decisions that business makes. He isn't 17, dazzled by visions of money and fame he never had. In fact, after 7 years of fame and riches, he's far more used to it than you and I or anyone else is. At what point do you believe he should be held accountable for his actions?

Steve Lorenz

July 10th, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

I guess you just don't get it. Accountable for what actions? Even if he was driven to make as much money off of his name as he could and was doing it completely on his own, what is he guilty of? Doing what we would do in his position? Oh of course not.....I'm sure if some of us were in his position, we'd do everything the right way according to the average person. 

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

If you don't think the following are questionable actions, then you are right, I don't "get it"

-allowing Cleveland fans and ownership to find out where you are going on television, never once giving the team he played for for 7 years the courtesy of telling them face to face that he was leaving.

-announcing the move to Miami, barely controlling his glee, never saying anything like "this was a difficult decision because Cleveland was my home for a long time, and I want to thank you fans for their support." You know, something classy.

-creating a televised drama over the decision, creating a twitter account under "King James," and surrounding himself with children while Jim Gray threw softball after softball at him for the announcement. Surrounding himself with children like 1- this was a serious event worthy of their attention, and 2- this is how people are supposed to act.

Yep, I don't get it.

jmblue

July 10th, 2010 at 2:29 PM ^

I agree that it doesn't help that LeBron has had a team of "handlers" stroking his ego for close to a decade now.  And I don't fault him for leaving Cleveland for Miami.  But I don't know how you can deny that he exhibits narcissistic tendencies?  We are talking about a guy who:

-regularly refers to himself in the third person

-has "The Chosen 1" tattoed on his back

-has participated in a long-running "We are all Witnesses" ad campaign

-chose to broadcast his free-agent decision on an hour-long ESPN special and even named it "The Decision" 

I think it's safe to say that LeBron's ego is a tad on the large side.  Maybe the backlash will ground him a bit.  He was clearly shocked to see Cleveland fans burn his jersey.  It seems to have not even occurred to him beforehand that this whole spectacle might have rubbed people the wrong way. 

Steve Lorenz

July 10th, 2010 at 2:53 PM ^

It's enevitable to have narcisstic tendencies when the entire world is kissing your ass. What I'm trying to say is that you or I would probably not act much differently if we were in his position. The way the media treats these guys has changed so much within the last ten years that we are bound to hate them because they become more than the sport.....which as you are aware is the reason people seem to be talking more about the broadcast than the decision itself.

jmblue

July 10th, 2010 at 3:09 PM ^

You're going too far making excuses for this.  LeBron is not the first athlete in the world to have received the superstar treatment.  Most of them manage to keep a better sense of perspective than he has.  Maybe he will take a step back, reflect on the criticism he's received, and rethink some things. 

MGlobules

July 10th, 2010 at 2:28 PM ^

a lot of people colluded in the crapstravaganza. And now the critics are, generally, failing to separate out the move to the Heat from the miserable hoopla that surrounded it. He's taking a pay cut, for ex., but certainly getting little credit for that. In a business where everyone is looking out for themselves, suddenly many people decided that Lebron James should draw a (pretty obscure moral) line and stay in Cleveland. 

But he did do himself real damage, will be pretty hard to stomach from now on--with questions about his wisdom and heart lingering from game 5 last year. I don't see him ever recovering completely.

jmblue

July 11th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

I don't think it comes out to quite that much. NBA players have to pay income tax to whatever state they earned their money in (i.e., where they played). So LeBron will earn just over half his salary in Florida (41 games in Miami plus two games in Orlando), and he'll have to pay state income tax for the other 39 games.

A2MIKE

July 10th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

I was with you untilj you said "most marketable athlete in sports history."  Epic Fail.  LJ is not the most marketable player in NBA history let alone sports history.  Tiger's endorsement deals before the divorce and scandal dwarfed Lebron's.  Michael Jordan will always be the most marketable player in NBA history at least for our lifetimes.  Don't believe me?

http://www.sportingnews.com/general/article/2010-06-08/michael-jordan-o…

That statement makes me think that your opinion of James has jaded your statement about, "being annoyed by these type of articles".  LJ would like to think he is on top of this list when actually he isn't in the top 10.  That's the point of the article linked by the OP.

Pea-Tear Gryphon

July 10th, 2010 at 3:31 PM ^

Arnold Palmer. The dude invented sports icon as product endorser. Trendsetter, period. MJ and Tiger have the true "King" to thank for their $Billion deals.

Oh, and his drink is the best. Nothing like Iced Tea and lemonade after a hot day of mowing lawn or golfing. Unless you make it a John Daly and add vodka...gotta go...thirsty now.

wolverine1987

July 10th, 2010 at 1:21 PM ^

Jordan would have never, ever put on such a lack of effort and interest.  And you know what, despite the criticism he gets, I don't think Kobe has ever done that either. IMO you can't even put James in the same sentence as guys like Magic, Bird et. al.

Tater

July 10th, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

I know it isn't popular here to say anything remotely positive about LBJ right now, but I think he made the only truly sensible move.  Sparty Gilbert has proven that, while he is great with sophomoric insults, he isn't competent enough as an owner to surround LBJ with the talent neccesary to win an NBA Championship.  In Chicago, LBJ would wilt under the pressure of 24-7 MJ comparisons.  And neither NY, NJ, or the Clippers could give him anything better than he had in Cleveland.

The special was bush league, but he got millions of dollars worth of free publicity and the Boys and Girls clubs got a nice check.  Besides, the story was a nice diversion from chomping at the bit while waiting for football to start.  That's good enough for me; your mileage may vary.