Sunday, July 11, 2010

How much I will miss LeBron James

So, it appears King James is on his way to Miami, Florida, this year.

Pardon me for a moment while I let out an exuberant yawn.

This story has not interested me beyond the morbid curiosity of how much more ego self-stroking was going to take place. What it has done, though, is reaffirm the steady de-emphasis of sports in my life over the past year. Anyone who has known me for a significant length of time knows what a sports junkie I have been for almost all of my years. But between all that has transpired in our life over the last couple of years personally and the developments affecting America over the same period, something had to give in terms of time and focus. Sports turned out to be the most logical casualty.

Now, let’s face it: LeBron James needed an hour of primetime national television in order to make his announcement (or rather, he felt he deserved it). There is one thing from Thursday night’s broadcast (gleaned from the intensive coverage of it since then) that stands out enough to compel me to devote time to some type of rant.

“LeBron James is taking his talents to South Beach…”

He is referring to himself in the third person? Are you serious?!

And with that display of unsurpassed self-absorption and sense of privilege, what little enthusiasm I still held for basketball has been snuffed. Congratulations, Mr. James, you have rendered the sport of basketball thoroughly unwatchable for me.

The closest I will come to viewing organized basketball for the foreseeable future will be watching our DVD of “Semi-Pro” with my wife (although, if an intriguing enough local high school match-up presents itself I could make an exception for that).

Upon reflection, even though I’ve never been a Cleveland Cavaliers fan I have never disliked or held any discontent for the franchise. I have long held varying soft spots in my heart for teams and their fans of Midwestern and Rust Belt towns such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Minneapolis – the result of growing up in a depressed area like Detroit.

While the personalities and antics of athletes such as Sidney Crosby, Ron Artest, Chris Pronger, and others have squelched that sentiment from time to time, none of those examples ever left me feeling complete disdain for an entire sport as an institution.

Beyond that, my general enthusiasm for sports overall has been dropped a notch or two. I know to most who read this it would seem I am surrendering entirely too much power to one so-called celebrity. I don’t see myself as having surrendered anything, to tell the truth: his behavior actually has served to help reinforce a sentiment that has been growing with me for a while, now.

Another sentiment LeBron’s egomaniacal display solidified is my list of favorite athletes in my lifetime shall be a short one, consisting of Steve Yzerman, Chris Zorich, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, Joe Dumars, Chris Spielman, and Denny Hamlin.

So adieu, LeBron. Hopefully you’ll find the ocean-front home of your dreams in one of Miami’s more posh suburbs – and sometime around the beginning of the exhibition season you’ll come home from a preseason game to find it all covered in tar balls from the BP spill.

“LeBron James is taking his talents to South Beach…”

And from now on Don Kissick will be taking his hard-earned cash to the NHL, Notre Dame, and NASCAR.

Yep, just as I suspected, it doesn’t read any less asinine when I do it.

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