So LeBron James has decided to use ESPN as the platform to announce where he plans to continue his NBA career. Someone must have told him this was a good idea, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they convinced him of it.
ESPN is of course, a willing partner in this, and you can hardly blame them for putting the program on the air Thursday night. Regardless of how contrived you think this is, you’re likely going to be paying attention. It’s a no-lose for them.
For LeBron though, this is a no-win situation. No matter what his choice, he’s going to come off as a self-absorbed diva who has a Brett Favre-like attraction to the media spotlight.
If he chooses to stay with Cleveland, the world will wonder why an ESPN special is needed to announce it. The fans of Cleveland will also have the right to feel used and strung along. For two plus seasons now, LeBron has talked about free agency, and flirted with opposing cities on every road trip. He underperformed in the playoffs, perhaps because he was focused on his upcoming free agency, which resulted in a disappointing second round exit after posting the league’s best record in the regular season. It also got his coach and general manager fired.
After all that, if he returns, he will be going on national TV to tell Cleveland fans he’s returning essentially because the Cavaliers can pay him the most allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement. I’m sure Cavs fans will be grateful.
If he goes to the Heat, Bulls, Knicks or wherever, he’s going to be slapping his home state in the face, and get viewed nationally as a hired mercenary who has no loyalties and is just out to promote himself, despite never having won anything as a professional.
The program of the ESPN special seems fairly easy to predict. There will be segments on each of the potential landing spots, and why each would be attractive to LeBron, and what drawbacks each city and situation presents. Experts in those cities will be interviewed to get their feel of the situation.
There will be video footage of the process to this point. Cameramen have been following LeBron around, recording these meetings, the tours of the franchises. We’ll see those, and get LeBron’s “candid” thoughts on each.
There will be highlights packages on LeBron’s career to this point. His high school days, and being drafted by the Cavaliers. Career highlights will flow by, though I don’t imagine we’ll see much from the playoff series against the Celtics this spring.
Then at about forty to forty-five minutes into the program, LeBron will be asked his decision, and will announce his choice. There will be a live cut to the winning city, where “instant reaction” will be gathered. Then the NBA analysts will determine what this means for LeBron, the team, the city and the conference and league.