So Lebron James engages in an hour of ridiculous self-promotion and people on the interwebs completely lose their minds. Deadspin goes nuts, which is weird since they're so good at making fun of shit that needs to be made fun of and not the slightly annoying stuff that this is. Case in point, it's great when they go after owners of sports franchises who are truly insane.
But my God, a superstar athlete acts like an attention hungry man-child and the world goes crazy. Keep in mind that he's also trying to take the sting out of losing $30 million by raising his brand name. He was hoping to get some more endorsements and jersey sales but he miscalculated and came across like an ass. Yes it's douchey to be so self-important, but Lebron did arrange for the ad money from this spectacle to go to charity so are you really that mad? It's not his fault he lives in a saturated media culture. He's just using it for his own purposes. So he's self-centered. Whatever. He's not running for Jesus so can everyone just calm the eff down?
Anyways, my favorite overreaction has been by Bill Plashke. He called Lebron James crass, callous and a coward. To sum up Plashke's rant, he's basically saying Lebron James broke up with the city that loved him in the wrong way and that he was undeserving of this attention since he never won a championship.
Dealing with that first idiocy, really? You're outraged the guy made an announcement on TV? Maybe Lebron should have taken Cleveland out to lunch. Except that might be a little pricey to take out a few million people at once and he did just lose $30 million. Perhaps he should have done what the new media darling Kevin Durant did. Durant tweeted his decision to get the max contract from his home team. And now loyal is every sportswriter's favorite word, like an athlete is supposed to stay with a team no matter what. It doesn't matter how incapable the team is of ever winning a championship due to it's small market nature and bat-shit crazy owner. Loyalty is the new metric by which we measure athletes, not how much they desire winning.
But what's even more ridiculous is that Plashke is so enraged that he won't give Lebron any credit at all. He also wrote, "Don't buy the spin that, because he could have made a guaranteed $30 million more on a potential Cavaliers contract, James is leaving Cleveland only because he wants to win." Really? Then why is he walking away from that $30 million? Shits and giggles? So he can live a Buddhist life of austerity?
Bill never offers a reason why Lebron took less money. He just offers why Lebron couldn't win in Cleveland. Apparently Lebron "left because he didn't have the innards to take the final step with complementary players that the Cavaliers continued to acquire." So apparently Lebron didn't win because he didn't have the proper innards for winning. So the Cleveland roster was filled with players who could win a championship, if only Lebron's innards were built for said winning. Maybe if Lebron had a better gastrointestinal tract he could have stopped Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan from running all over a Cleveland team that had Daniel Gibson starting in a finals series. Or maybe a less immuno-deficient spleen could have made Ilgouskis or Varajo defend Dwight Howard one-on-one in 2009, preventing Orlando from swinging the ball around to their unguarded 3 point shooters. Or maybe stronger stomach acid could have dissolved Rajon Rondo and prevented him from throwing down Oscar Roberston style triple-doubles against an over-matched Cleveland back-court. Seriously, does anyone still think Cleveland team is worth anything? What happens when that team hovers at .500 and barely makes the play-offs next year? Will Plashke attribute their sucking to Delonte West's innards? Or will it force him admit that Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet who made a pretty mediocre team one of the league's best and after 7 years of trying to win with a franchise that couldn't attract another legitimate player, Lebron has now done what every sports writer has always asked a super star athlete to do, to be less selfish and take less money and focus on winning a championship? Oh no it won't, cause loyalty is how we measure athletes now. We should pick athletes the same way we pick our puppies, that will put people in the seats and banners in the rafters.
Anyways, I do have some last minor points. For anyone who says the Florida tax laws make up for walking away from $30 million then you are an idiot. Ohio taxes income above $200,000 at 6%. And for you mental retards who would say such a thing let me do that math for you: Lebron is losing around $28 million by going to Miami. (Of course this doesn't compare property or sales tax but I can't imagine they make up for that final $28 million in a significant way.) Secondly, saying Lebron didn't win a championship so he's undeserving of attention ignores how overrated championships are when evaluating the talent of players in team sports. How good a player is is neither sufficient or necessary for winning a trophy. Should Steve Kerr get an hour on television to talk about how he landed ass-backwards onto amazing teams to win 5? Or maybe Kobe would like to talk about how he wanted to leave the Lakers in the beginning of 2007, you know, because there wasn't enough talent around him to get him out of the first round of the playoffs? Is that the type of intestinal fortitude Plashcke is talking about? Whining about not having enough talent and then having your GM steal Pau Gasol for a ham sandwich in one of the most unfair trades in the history of mankind?
So in conclusion, people are ridiculous and get angry over ridiculous things. And for some reason the media turns against a person and then creates arbitrary standards on how to evaluate their new darling. I cannot wait for the day that Kevin Durant tweets or updates his facebook status or pod casts his trade demand to a contender.