Monday, July 12, 2010


So LeBron James gets his own one hour show on ESPN, called The Decision. He won't be taking on sports challenges from other athletes. He won't be dancing for a disco ball. And he won't be trying to prove that he is smarter than a 5th grader.

No, LeBron gets a full hour, just to say the name of an NBA basketball team.

That's right, we need a full hour, of prime time sports programming, just to hear LeBron James tell us for which team he will be playing in the middle years of his NBA career. This is valuable air time, usually reserved for such important events as the NFL Draft, the All-Star selection show, and The ESPYs.

And the ESPY for most Overhyped Free Agency goes to....

Now, let's be fair. A free agent of the caliber of King James is a pretty big deal. If he'd been traded to another team, the event would be on par with Wayne Gretzky going to the Los Angeles Kings, or Alex Rodriguez from Seattle to the Texas Rangers. Or the Yankees. You just don't see the game's best player, future Hall of Famer, and top 10, 25, or 50 players, moving very often.

The James free agency has been called The Biggest Free Agent. Ever. What has not been explained, is the criteria for the Biggest Free Agent. Ever. If you are judging this on being a future hall of famer, then fine. But it has happened before. Should the standard be a multiple MVPs? Maybe if you're the game's best player at that time, the you get to be the Biggest Free Agent. Ever. Or, should the Big Man On Free Agent Campus be measured by the number of league titles he owns? By that standard, the LeBron stakes are no big deal.

But we are told LeBron's free agency is a big deal. By ESPN, and by golly, we have to believe it. Because if ESPN says it is true, then it must be true. And if it is not true, then it SHOULD be true. Because ESPN says so.

ESPN has been great at hyping the entire LeBron affair. It seems that most of their programming, from SportsCenter to the Sports Reporters, has been taken over by LeBron speculation. There is now a larger cottage industry of LeBron speculation than Obama birthers.

And that whole Obama thing is the Biggest Birth Certificate Controversy. Ever.

Even the ESPN scroll has been taken over by LeBron, with constant updates on.... well, on nothing, really. The scrolls may tell us to which teams he has been talking to, but recently, all we have been reading on the bottom of the SportsCenter screen is how LeBron would be announcing his decision this coming week.

The entire affair is vaguely reminiscent of the John McCain announcement for vice president during the Republican National Convention. That was when one cable news station actually ran a scroll under a "Breaking News" banner, that said that McCain was not going to announce his choice for veep until later. That's right, the "Breaking News" was that THERE WAS NO NEWS.

So LeBron James will have his prime time special on ESPN, announce where he is going to play, and then we can get on with ignoring the NBA again.


ESPN's production for their main man, LeBron James, was interesting. I found it particularly amusing near the start of the show, when ESPN host Stuart Scott asked his roundtable panel just where they thought LeBron James was going to take his services.

Panelists Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon, and Chris Broussard stepped over each other to say that "their sources" told each of them that James was going to Miami.

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