Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hot Topic - Lebron James and the Miami Heat

So what do I think about this whole Lebron James situation? First of all, I do not follow professional basketball closely enough to have a comment on his talent or what it means for him or Miami's chances to win a championship that he chose the Heat. I do have an opinion about what the way he did it and how ESPN enabled it.

I grew up playing basketball in the glow of street lights on a hoop on our garage. Basketball is a team sport. You can have the best player in the world, but if the rest of the team can't carry their own water - you can't win. That's the thing that bugged me so much about this. He is one guy and he made everything about him. As if he was a messiah coming to hand down a championship to whichever team kissed his feet enough to get him. He couldn't deliver a championship ring to the Cavs so why does anyone think he could do it anywhere else?

Well, I guess ESPN does because they gave him an entire hour to talk about it. I have to hand it to James's PR team. They really earned their money on this one. His coverage was incredible. Maybe ESPN made the right business decision by airing the one hour special. It was heavily viewed and has been much discussed. While I don't think a sports channel has to be totally objective, this blatant player worship just rubs me the wrong way. ESPN could have negotiated exclusive rights to broadcast his press conference. This would have been better because then, at least,  they would have been covering a news event instead of manufacturing one.

I worry about what the impact of "LEBRON" will be.  I lived in Miami in 2006 when the Heat won the championship. It was incredible. The city was energized in a way that is hard to describe. The greatest thing about that year and that team was that they made it clear that they were a team. Wade and O'Neal led the way, but without the bench - it wouldn't have happened.  I worry that James's ego will get in the way of his play. That his big mouth will weigh down the team. We'll just have to wait and see.

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