If you’re going to read this, you’re going to have to listen to some music.
Rarely do I ever issue any demands of you, but today, I am.
If you want to get the real feel for what’s going on today in LeBron-Land, listen to this while you read:
Now you get the feel for what’s happening in Greenwich Village tonight.
LeBron James will prove to everyone tonight that he, now, IS the NBA.
In fairness to him – and on the whole, I’m against what’s happening tonight – no player in the NBA could pull this off. Not even Kobe. Not Dwight Howard. No one would be able to command ESPN to agree to this tonight. No player in the NBA could force ESPN to eschew their regular Thursday night programming and allow said player to take over the network for an hour and “own the time”, selling sponsorships in an attempt – a worthy one, at that – to generate money for the Boys and Girls Club of America.
Only LeBron could do this.
By the way, are you digging the music? It really adds to the blog, doesn’t it?
But just because LeBron CAN do this doesn’t make it right.
I know what James is doing tonight. I do. He’s proving to the rest of the great unwashed in the NBA that he can pull this off. He’s saying to his circle of rock-star-friends like Wade, Paul, Howard, Bryant, et al, “yeah, you guys all make a lot of money, drive great cars, swing around town with fancy women and a couple of you have championship rings…but none of y’all could do THIS tonight. Only the KING can pull this one off.”
And he’s right about that. In fact, there’s probably an argument that no other athlete in team sports today could tell ESPN to donate an hour of progamming to him so he can grace us with the announcement of where he’s going to make his next $150 million.
A-Rod couldn’t do it.
Neither could Derek Jeter.
Chad Johnson might actually try it, but no one would watch.
Brett Favre practically owns ESPN every summer with all of his “I’m back, I’m out” see-sawing, but he’d never be able to sit down for an hour and tell us all where he’s going and have us actually care.
But like I said, just because you CAN pull it off doesn’t make it right.
And to me, it doesn’t make it right that LeBron is putting the focus on HIS decision tonight and not putting the focus on the TEAM and the FRANCHISE and the CITY that are all going to be impacted by his choice of employer.
Imagine the revenue he could generate tonight in…Miami…Chicago…New York…Cleveland…if LeBron were to make his announcement in that city.
Then again, those places don’t need more money.
Well, Cleveland does.
And when he gives the Cavaliers the boot tonight, you might as well just close that franchise down. In fairness, that’s too much for any one player to have on his head, but it’s true. Without LeBron, the Cavs are done.
In closing, I will admit there’s part of this LeBron marketing wizardry that I actually admire.
Because he’s never won anything (I’m not counting the MVP…I mean, as a player, on a team), I appreciate the gamble he’s taking tonight by saying, “I’m going to (insert city here) and I’m going to make those guys a winner.”
Well, he never made Cleveland a winner.
And he might not go to the Knicks and make them a winner. Or the Bulls.
But just the fact that James is willing to stand up tonight and say, “I’ll make the world stop for an hour and tell you what franchise I’m going to ressurect next” impresses me somewhat.
And that’s mainly because he HASN’T won anything.
It’s easy to brag when you’re Kobe and you have all those rings.
But it’s not easy to say “watch me work my magic” when you don’t have any real magic acts for everyone to review.
I know it’s all about LeBron tonight.
It’s all about “only the King can pull this off”.
It’s all about “I’m bigger than the game”.
It’s all about “I’m the team, the rest of you guys just play with me”.
And, for sure, it’s all about ESPN climbing in the sack with another star performer so they can both prosper.
I get it.
I don’t like it, but I get it.
And yes, I’ll be watching.