Friday, July 9, 2010
Did That Really Just Happen?
Well, I'm wrong as rain, yet again. Put it on my room tab, I'll pay up by credit card on the way out.
But for an outcome that matched all the rumors and reports, how is it that I am more stunned the morning after, than I was last night when I heard it?
I have this feeling of: "Man, I gotta get my head around what all of this actually means now."
For LeBron, I'm struggling to find any upside. Any.
Yes, he gets to play in a warm, international city, with his buddies. He might someday win a championship.
And....... that concludes the "upside" portion of his Decision 2010.
The downsides are all over the place.
The manner in which the announcement was made, will go down in the PR Bible under the chapter of "Don't Ever, Ever, Do It This Way".
More importantly, how can he even call himself "King James" anymore? The guy has voluntarily downgraded his status in the league. He's an accessory now.
In a span of 27 eyeball glazing minutes on ESPN, LeBron James morphed himself from potentially "The Greatest Player of All Time" into a jezebel Scottie Pippen.
The King? Please. He's now middle management in Miami. He's Dwight Schrute with a 48 inch vertical.
Did that really just happen?
Clearly, James and his high school homies who manage his image, tend to his empire, and control his "brand" didn't really think this one through beyond the initial two moves on the sports chessboard of greatness.
If they don't win a championship THIS year, it's EPIC FAIL.
If they never win one together, it's ALL TIME EPIC FAIL.
Every casual or "on-the-fence" LeBron "fan" just fell off the fence. On the wrong side.
Every other NBA team is going to lick their chops when Miami Thrice comes to play. They just signed up for 82 consecutive regular season "Game 7" efforts from opponents.
Cavs owner Dan Gilbert may have done himself and his franchise irreparable damage with that open letter to fans. But guess what? You aren't going to escape his wrath without further image damage to yourself.
You can say Gilbert is a ranting lunatic, but people do listen to ranting lunatics.
Many will listen and say: "Oh. Really? Wow. Didn't know that...."
Gilbert is now the crazy spurned girlfriend who just threw your clothes and shit out the window onto the street. He's the crazy bitch, we get it. But crazy bitches run around and tell all the dirty secrets about you, and that's not going to be fun.
Gilbert has the freedom now to elaborate on the absurdly feeble exits to the post-season James authored the last two seasons.
"He quit," Gilbert said in an interview with the AP right after "The Decision." "Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar."
Gilbert continued, saying LeBron quit against Orlando in 2009 as well.
"Go back and look at the tape," he said. "How many shots did he take?"
You can say Gilbert is wrong to be saying this now, but the substance is 1000% correct. A fair defense of Gilbert's bitterness is that he did all he could to provide a championship caliber team to Lebron. They were the league's #1/#1 seed going into the post-season.
And then James turtled.
LeBron fucked it up this year. I don't know how you can say otherwise.
Gilbert must have been thinking: Hey, grow up kid, work harder on your game's weak points, become a better leader, stop taking fake pictures with your team making goofy poses, and I'll pay you every dime I'm legally allowed AND put up with all the myriad nonsense and off-court bullshit that I have been keeping buried for the last few years.
It doesn't make what Gilbert did right, or even smart. Felt good, I'm sure. Entertaining as hell for us in the chattering class to discuss.
But he'll pay a dear price for it too.
Like the crazy bitch who throws your clothes out on the street, guys will whisper that one around too.
So Lebron is in Miami. Good for him. I hope he's happy, because he sure didn't look like it on TV. For a moment so big, so career defining, so worth making yourself look like an insufferable ass on TV for, well, he sure did come off as nervous and timid.
That ain't no Global Icon, folks.