By Paul Sykes

Did you tune in to see the King James version of “The Bachelor” on ESPN? Or maybe I should ask if you sat numbly in front of the TV with 27 minutes of commercials and innuendo before LeBron James finally let loose the news that he was headed to Miami?

All we needed was a tearful girl crying (preferably in Cleveland) and a drumroll. Has professional sports come to this … an unprecedented hyping of where the third best player in the NBA is going to count his Benjamins?[pullquote]

I nearly spewed iced tea when I heard the booming baritone bellow at the start of the show: “At stake! The NBA’s balance of power”

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I would have not wanted to be ESPN’s Shelly Smith. She had the ‘short straw’ luck of having to report from Cleveland, the jilted lover in this sordid affair. Did you notice the police behind her? To protect and serve, or more fittingly to keep the disappointed and irate fans of the Cavs from storming the camera with irate comments like “This sucks, dude” or “We got hosed.”

That could have been slightly more exciting than the frivolity of free agency. ESPN did manage to draw a ton of viewers to hear the verdict, though. I nearly spewed iced tea when I heard the booming baritone bellow at the start of the show: “At stake! The NBA’s balance of  power”

Tear down that wall, Mr. Gorbachev.

Please. Seventy-five percent of people polled don’t think the Heat will win the title next year.  And 56% aren’t certain that King James made the right move. They even had a chart of states showing where the residents thought the Messiah would end up.

James didn’t pick the largest media market. He didn’t even choose the best team vying for his services. What he did was follow the money trail, choosing a team that he figured he’d be comfortable with and win some games. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh are talented players. They still have to get past Kobe’s Lakers, though, and Rajon Rondo’s Celtics.

So, in the end … we witnessed (those of you who finished the marathon and stumbled to the finish line) a one hour painful root canal on a player who won a high school championship. They’ll probably name a street and a bar drink after him.  Welcome to glitz and glamour.

Meanwhile, in Cleveland, the stench of burning basketball jerseys permeates the muggy air. Hey, they still have the Browns, right?

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By Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

9 thoughts on “LeBron’s Media Circus”
  1. Kind of like watching one of those reality shows, except that everyone knew who the survivor was going to be and where he was going. The announcers had to be embarrassed for themselves.

  2. don’t know that he followed the money trail. he would have made approx 30mil more by staying in cleveland, and will most likely sign for less than the max contract in miami. i’m not saying what he did as far as his ego trip over the past few weeks was the correct thing to do (in fact it was quite absurd), but he didn’t follow the money to miami – he doesn’t need the money, he needs the trophies.

    1. Salary, sure…he settled for less. What he’ll make in off-court appearances, promotional stuff and the like will undoubtedly put him way over what staying in Cleveland would have brought him.

      The new Miami Heat LeBron jersey…boy, wouldn’t I like to see one tenth of one percent of what that’ll bring it.

      Bejamins outside the arena. He’s struck gold.

  3. Kind of reminded me of Calipari with the ego and self-promotion/hype displayed during this past season at heights unseen in college basketball before.

  4. I didn’t care and I didn’t tune in. It sure is funny how serious some people take their sports teams. I thought UL fans were serious? Seeing some girl crying because a certain player leaves a team and goes elsewhere is a joke. It’s not one of her family members died or anything.

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