Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LeBron Redux

Reputation, reputation, reputation! O, I have lost my reputation! I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial. ~ William Shakespeare, Othello

I swear I've heard this story before. Oh, that's right, I have – 4 years ago. I'm sure, if you're a follower of professional sports, you recall LeBron James spitting in the eye of Cleveland Cavalier fans with his drawn-out self-promoting nonsense that ended with him going to Miami. You know, there was “The Decision” on ESPN, one of the most pathetic pieces of programming brought on by Mr. James keeping his fans hanging onto their pitiful hopes that he would stay in Cleveland, only to announce that he was going to Miami.

Cleveland fans did not take it well.

So anyway, here it is four years later and guess who suddenly tanks in the playoffs. The phenomenal cramps were a clever touch; at least this time he didn't claim he was going to need surgery in the off-season (in 2010 it was a mysterious elbow injury, which equally mysteriously didn't need surgery after all). Then, amazingly he opts out of his remaining contract with the Heat. After flirting with this and that team (and Carmelo Anthony), he suddenly announces via SI.com that he's coming back to Cleveland.

At least this time, he told Miami management about the Decision beforehand. To make up for this, he didn't tell Cleveland's management that he was coming.

Now, we all had to put up with constant LeBron updates through all of this on ESPN. Once he made his decision, they ramped it up to analyze it, I guess. I don't know for sure, because I didn't watch any of it, but there was lots of SportsCenter discussion to the extent that they rescheduled FIFA World Cup and softball World Cup coverage around it. Anyhoo, LeBron announces he wants to be a “mentor” to the team and blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, articles are coming out (there was one in the local paper from USA Today for example) talking about how good for Cleveland, nay, all of Ohio it is that the great LeBron is returning to the state.

I wasn't planning to write about this, since the glorification of LeBron was everywhere and why add to it, even with criticism?  But, then came the funny bit. Cleveland offers a four-year contract, but LeBron takes only a two-year deal – with an opt-out provision after one year.

So Cleveland is going to get one year of his “mentoring” and he's going to be off again, presumably to the Knicks, since they re-signed Carmelo after LeBron made his announcement.

What's going on here? Well, evidently fans have short memories. Like the deal with Wade and Bosh at Miami, LeBron now wanted to play with Anthony. For whatever reason, no one with a chance for the playoffs wanted to foot the bill for both of them. So, LeBron decides to take a year off fooling Cavaliers fans into thinking he gives a crap about them. At the end of the season, having given New York time to clear some salary cap space, he will, of course, opt-out and start the whole stupid circus again.

What else would be the purpose of turning down a four-year contract? In fact, what would be the purpose of opting out of a contract with a team that made the NBA finals four years in a row and won two of them?

Meanwhile Miami fans are burning LeBron jerseys and defacing LeBron posters. This had a faintly familiar ring to it. Oh, year, Cleveland fans did the same thing in 2010.

Guess what they're likely to be doing in 2015?