On Tuesday night ESPN reported that LeBron James had decided to announce his NBA team choice on their network, Thursday night at 9:00 EST. So after waiting days for a decision the sports world was granted a deadline on the speculation. However, it came with a rather large stipulation in that the decision wouldn't just be made it would be broadcasted in an hour of sports show dedicated to LeBron, by LeBron and from LeBron.
Soon after the news broke I had a very contentious and heated debate with a fellow writer and friend over what the grandeur represented, which left me more irritated than I entered it. In our discussion my friend laid out the history of James' career in how he entered the NBA having not been able to have his, "all eyes on me moment", as many top high school recruits do when choosing a college team. And while I understood the logic behind what LeBron was trying to recreate for himself with his "personal signing day" and what that may have represented to him; the idea that this super star who already has the basketball world hanging onto his every word over the past week, just couldn't rest until he had everyone's full attention on national television, infuriated me.
I understand what he missed out on when he chose to skip college and go straight into the professional league having never getting his moment to shine at that time. But the past has a funny way of upsetting your future when you're not content on leaving it where it belongs and in LeBron's case I couldn't remember a time when the spotlight wasn't on him. So I decided to take a look back on how he has made up for that one moment he "lost" since entering the NBA. Those of us who are not impressed by sheer name and reputation alone endured his self-appointed nickname "King James"... having not ruled over much thus far in his career being considered a king is a bit far reaching but a king he wanted to be and a king he was called from then on. The Lakers nation sat back and watched as every season passed how they compared him to Kobe Bryant and often placed him above him because it was the popular thing to do, as many fans had grown tired of the Kobe machine that followed his every move, so they adopted a new leader in LeBron James. The MVP titles and the quick exits from the playoffs that always followed never changed anyone's opinion because he was "The Chosen One." Chosen for what is still unclear and despite it all the fans still loved him. The cries from the Cavaliers faithful, to bring him a big man and to build a better team around him, as they did for Kobe, so he could finally "get over the hump" and get his ring were all met. And throughout it all, the praise continued to pour in and the spotlight never diminished...it only grew. And it continued to grow as speculation mounted that King James would be the heir to the throne in New York City by signing with the Knicks once he became a free agent. He was given the red carpet treatment in the only city that could make his star shine brighter than it already had. The "King of New York" Jay Z *no offense Diddy* endorsed him and all but commanded the citizens of this great city to do the same. In the end it all worked, New Yorkers love LeBron James, who has yet to even don a Knicks uniform. Subsequently, every fan of every other team who has shown interest in signing the number one free agent has also welcomed him with open arms. The citizens of Chicago, home of Michael Jordan, have cleared a path for him and are ready to build their newest super star's statue and put it up next to their old one.
Yet none of it was enough. The stage needed to be bigger, the spotlight stronger and the audience larger. He couldn't just sign like any of the other free agents in this year's free agent market...nope he had to separate himself and make his signing a production in an effort that says "I am bigger than the game." This entire display has proven to be an enormous turnoff for many fans, but in the end the same fans of whichever team he decides to signs with will forgive him and the basketball world will embrace him as they always have...begging the question of why any of this was necessary in the first place.