Bonus post tonight, as I could not resist making fun of The Decision, the made-for-television event in which Lebron James announces the team he’s going to sign with. And even though I am by no means an NBA expert, I love seismic changes in any sport.
Plus, seriously, we’ve never seen anything like this before. Even when A-Rod got traded to the Yankees in 2004, I first learned about it on the main Yahoo! page via a one-line headline. Tonight’s press conference was some next-level stuff – a fascinating intersection of media, sports, celebrity, Lebron’s ego, and children.
Here are my thoughts as the press conference, I mean, interview, I mean, abomination unfolded.
9:00 – 9:22: ESPN analysts Mike Wilbon, Chris Broussard, Jon Barry, and Stu Scott kill time, repeating information that anyone who even has a passing interest in this story have known for about three days. This is surrounded by a lot of This is SportsCenter commercials. I guess corporate America wasn’t interested in having its advertising dollars rerouted to the Boys and Girls Club of America.
9:22: Stu Scott kicks it over to Greenwich, Connecticut, where we see Lebron and Jim Gray perched on a black dais in cheap director’s chairs. Lebron is wearing dark jeans and a reddish shirt. Immediately, I try to remember which teams have red in their uniforms. Red = Hot = Heat. Uh, oh, Cleveland.
In the background, there are about 50 kids, who are going to be witnesses. Witnesses to what, I am not sure.
Anyway, off we go.
9:22:30: Now, I probably listen to my iPod volume way too high, but it sounded like Lebron said he is looking forward to the free agent process. Whoa, there, LBJ, just so we’re clear, everyone is under the impression that the free agent process is over.
He looks really uncomfortable, almost like he’s being led to his execution. This really cannot be good for Cleveland.
9:24: This interview, however, is extremely good for the word “process”, which Lebron has now used five times in less than 90 seconds. He then says that not many people know about his decision, even though every media outlet in the known universe has been reporting for the last 24 hours that he’s chosen the Heat.
9:26: He says the major factor in his decision was the opportunity to win now. Um, Cleveland, you can just go ahead and change the channel to reruns of the Drew Carey Show. This isn’t going to end well. Like I said, I am no NBA expert, but I am aware that Lebron’s trips to the playoffs have gotten shorter with each passing year. From NBA Finals to Conference Finals, to this year’s disastrous beatdown by the Celtics in the second round.
9:27: “Um, no. I don’t have any doubts at all.” Oh, Lebron, it sounds like you might have the teensiest little bit of doubt. I mean, if you’re a juror in a criminal trial, you can send a guy to prison with a teensy bit of doubt. I wonder what that guy from “Lie to Me” would say about this response to Gray’s question.
9:27: Jim Gray asks, “You still a nailbiter?” Geez, Jimmy, why not ask him if he still wets the bed?
OK, announcement time. I came into this thinking he would still go back to Cleveland, but the last five minutes have changed that.
9:27:28: “This fall… man, this is very tough…”
Here it comes. This is like when your significant other tells you that you need to talk.
9:27:29: “…this fall, I’m going to take my talents to South Beach…”
Wait a minute, Cleveland! Maybe he means the south beach of Lake Erie!
9:27:36: "...and join the Miami Heat."
I guess not.
9:27:46: LBJ’s goal is “Not only just to win in the regular season, or just to win five games in a row or three games in a row.”
Well, that pretty much ends things with the Cavs. They were the kings of the regular season five-game winning streak.
9:28:59: Lebron: “For me, it’s not about sharing.”
Look, Lebron, that kind of attitude is not going to get you very far in my son’s pre-kindergarten class.
Lebron: “It’s about everyone having their own spotlight and then doing what’s best for the team.”
Hang on, let me get my dictionary. I want to look up the word “foreshadowing.”
“D-Wade, he’s the unselfish guy here.”
I, on the other hand, am totally and unapologetically selfish.
9:29:13: First reference to himself in the third person.
9:29:33: Yeah, Lebron, how WILL you explain this to the fans in Cleveland?
9:30:01: Your heart will always be around that area? It might be, if some of these angry Cleveland fans catch you.
9:30:13: Tread carefully, Lebron. Really, you’re trying to couch your departure in a way that makes it seem like you’re not really leaving Cleveland? Really?
“Look guys, you can still catch me on TNT and NBC and TBS next season. Just squint and pretend I’m wearing a Cavs jersey. You can’t afford to come to an NBA game in person anyway, so what difference does it make what my shirt says. It’s me, guys! It’s Bron-Bron!”
9:30:30: No, Lebron, it’s not an emotional time for the area. It’s an economic dirty bomb.
9:30:37: LBJ: “I’ve done so many great things for that team.”
Yeah. Except win a championship. But whatever.
9:30:50: I don’t think the Cleveland fans are going to have mixed emotions. It’s going to be pretty much one emotion, straight up, neat. And you may want to think twice about living in Akron in the future, because there is going to be a lot of toilet paper in your trees.
9:31:15: Who the eff is Erik Spoelstra? I loved this part. He’s basically telling Spoelstra that if he doesn’t like the way things are going, he’s just gonna go over his head to Pat Riley.
9:32:06: Lebron: “I know how loyal I am.”
Yes, your loyalty came shining through tonight. It’s going to be taught at colleges and universities throughout Ohio.
9:33:09: Wait a minute. Your mom waited until today to tell you she wants you to be happy? What’s she been doing since May 13?
9:33:26: And we’re done.
I don’t have any other commentary because seriously, that was spectacular television, and it pretty much spoke for itself.