Lebron James has a one hour special on ESPN tonight to announce his decision on where he will be playing for the next 5 or 6 years. This spectacle will cap one of the most absurd processes ever seen.

A man seemingly obsessed with his "brand," LeBron James has bungled this about as badly as could be done. "The Decision" was a terrible, terrible idea. And if it culminates, as many are now reporting, with LeBron abandoning Cleveland and joining the Miami Globetrotters (where Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh already reside), James will become one of the most reviled sports figures in the United States. In short, James and his new team would be the figures everyone will root against. And not in a New York Yankee sort of way.

If he does this, LeBron will have done something I would not have thought possible - he would have made Kobe Bryant the most popular figure in the NBA. And if the Lakers beat the Miami Globetrotters next year, Kobe Bryant becomes a folk hero.

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    also bad (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by The Addams Family on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:39:18 AM EST
    was the whole process of Alex Rodriguez leaving the Seattle Mariners for the Texas Rangers - locals in Seattle even wrote a terrible song called "Stay-Rod" - & then when A-Rod landed what was then the largest contract in MLB and went to Texas the first thing he did was write a much publicized letter to the chairman of Boeing telling him Boeing should leave Seattle too - wonder if LeBron can ever be more reviled that A-Rod - a magnificent baseball player who over time has revealed himself to be a d!ck as a person

    there is a beauty to the spectacle (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by seabos84 on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 09:05:08 AM EST
    NBA, NFL, MLB - ALL of them in the 80's went to this kind of premium approach to pricing -

    sure there the games everyone played in the street with their friends during the summer & after school - BUT - to go to the game meant it was KOOL to drop $50 on parking spot and bag of peanuts BEFORE you got inside the stadium to buy some $100 shirt and $40 hat and $9 hot dog and $6 soda ... to CRAP seat for $40 or $50 or $60 bucks ... a person ... times 4.

    and it didn't matter cuz we are ALL titled managers and professionals and yuppies, and what is dropping 5 bills on a baseball game? nothing!

    yawn. well, attendance in MLB & NBA is showing how many people can drop $200 to go to a game - not enough.

    my solution - hire MORE marketing people and raise prices, cuz, when your product sucks you need MORE consultants, lawyers and managers!  

    (psst! they're all gonna tell you how having la-kobe-rod will blow the doors off your t.v. deal ... Good Luck!)

    p.s. I'm 50 - anyone notice how many kids just go to the park to play baseball or football AND aren't being corralled and shepherded by blackberry nitwit parents? the long term fan base don't exist.


    Kids in my neighborhood do play basketball (none / 0) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:24:48 PM EST
    So that fan base is there, but it is too bad the tickets are too much for most of them to ever see a game. Supposedly the Magic are going to make some of the seats in the new arena 'affordable', whatever that means.

    I hope (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Capt Howdy on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:58:04 PM EST
    Kanye West interrupts him.

    P Diddy on Twitter says its the Knicks (none / 0) (#1)
    by JoeA on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 06:21:08 AM EST
    Don't know if he is joking.

    " iamdiddy
    Breaking news!!! Lebron signs with the Knicks!! I just saw him leaving the knicks owners house!!! He lives next door to me! Let's go NYC "

    Ok, he actually updated to say he was kidding (none / 0) (#2)
    by JoeA on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 06:22:03 AM EST
    ha... fricking ha

    And the timing is so bad, because (none / 0) (#4)
    by observed on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:41:59 AM EST
    everyone is talking about Magnus Carlsen's new career as a model.

    You must have rooting interests (none / 0) (#5)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 07:48:52 AM EST
    in Lebron going to the Knicks.

    Bosh and Lebron to Miami would be just another version of Pierce and Garnett to Boston, only this time the media is on steroids over it.

    Lebron leaving Cleveland will be nothing more than when A-Rod left Seattle, Bonds left Pittsburgh, and Garnett left Minneapolis. Other than Cleveland and the other team that is involved, a week from now everyone else will go ho-hum.

    to clarify (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by CST on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 10:14:40 AM EST
    Pierce was already on the Celitcs, it was Allen and Garnett who moved.

    Also they have about 10 years on Lebron and were both at the tail end of their careers having never won titles, not in their prime leaving the home team.  And finally, the Celtics were not a playoff contender (like the Heat) before Allen and Garnett got there.  They were the worst team in the league.

    All of that makes a big difference in "rootability".


    Shows (none / 0) (#11)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:09:42 AM EST
    how little I watch the NBA. Didn't even grab the right Celtic. I just knew there were two.

    As for rootability, the money is already in for the Heat. They sold out their 2011 season tickets this morning. And if Lebron goes to Miami, TBS will be showing the Heat all the time. Sad to say, most hated or most loved makes for good ratings.


    Heh (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 08:00:12 AM EST
    Another not so good sign (none / 0) (#8)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 09:17:08 AM EST
    of him ending up with the Knicks...

    MSG stock was down 4.5% in the first hour today. That compares with the DOW being up half a percent. There looks to be no joy in Knickville.

    Then again, if you're an optimist, the news to Miami was leaked out by Lebron's friends so they could scoop up MSG at a discount today and make a 10% return on their investment by this time tomorrow when Lebron announces he's going to NY.


    I am a fan of no NBA team (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 09:50:48 AM EST
    My heart belongs to the Florida Gators, the New York Yankees and the NY Giants.

    I love certain players - all the Florida guys and  Steve Nash in the NBA.

    Florida guys in the other pro sports.  


    Florida Gator (none / 0) (#18)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:15:32 PM EST
    David Lee looks to be the winner in the "We didn't get Lebron" sweepstakes when he signs somewhere for between 10-14 million.

    The Giants (none / 0) (#20)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:28:03 PM EST
    Do not like them....My team is America's Team.

    You must have been at least somewhat torn over Emmitt Smith.  Especially when he single-handedly beat the Giants with a separated shoulder.


    That was a terrible day (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:59:44 PM EST
    But he is a Gator.... (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:49:07 PM EST
    He was great (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 02:57:19 PM EST
    And if the Giants would have pulled out a win, it would have been a perfect day.

    But it is easy now (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:24:47 PM EST
    ....no Gators on the Cowboys....FSU, yes, but no Gators....

    And Giants should do better this year if they get their defensive ends back up to snuff....

    Skins and Iggles will have trouble.....


    I think the Giants (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:33:38 PM EST
    are in serious trouble.

    I predict a .500 season for them.


    Considering he really doesn't.... (none / 0) (#12)
    by Dadler on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:19:27 AM EST
    ...need the money from his contract (his endorsements probably dwarf it), i think he might jump to the Heat.

    Funny story, I have season tickets to University of San Diego basketball, my neighborhood team, and Bill Walton went to almost all of the games, sat a few rows in front of me. Pat Riley, Miami Heat G.M., was there one game scouting a player from New Mexico. He came over to talk to Walton in front of us, Riles dressed in his usual dapper attire, slacks, sweater, hair perfectly slicked back. Then some kid in a Celtics shirt asks Riles and Walton to take a photo with him. The look on Riley's face, seeing that Celtics shirt, was classic. No no no, he said at first. Then Walton said "Come on, Pat, let's give the kid a treat." So they all posed together, and not a minute after the shutter snapped, the point guard for New Mexico goes diving for a ball headed out of bounds, and proceeds to knocks a soda all over Pat Riley's pricey slacks and cashmere sweater. The look on Riley's face this time was more classic -- I'll take a pic with a kid in a Celtics shirt, but I'll be damned if my attire is abused like this. He was gone in a minute, never to be seen courtside again.

    Dapper Riles.  

    Wow (none / 0) (#13)
    by coast on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:36:39 AM EST
    Between just the top tier free agents (4 players), teams are going to spend approximately $500,000,000.  And the funny thing is, that most will be able to sign at least one more contract before their career is over.  

    I knew I should have worked on my outside jumper when I was younger.

    I'm not seeing Miami... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:51:33 AM EST
    at all...why would Lebron wanna play Scottie Pippen to Wade's Jordan?  But that seems to be the consensus guess right now.

    I'm hoping the Greenwich announcement means Knicks...it's right around the corner from their practice facility...but I'm sure Jimmy "Trainwreck" Dolan sh*t the bed during their interview somehow and blew any chance we had:)  

    Does he really sign as "LBJ"? (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 11:53:08 AM EST
    Source:  sports talk radio last night.  The hosts were playing fantasy LeBron.  What sports headline (not a death) would knock him off the front page.  Best one:  Cal Ripken admits he bet on baseball.

    What's he getting paid for ESPN deal itself? (none / 0) (#16)
    by robotalk on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:03:48 PM EST

    Nothing (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:20:22 PM EST
    All proceeds are going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

    And remember, anything other than the Cavs and he'll be taking a voluntary paycut in salary.


    The 2011 Heat won't get past the Celtics (none / 0) (#17)
    by BobTinKY on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 12:08:05 PM EST
    with or without LeBron

    if he leaves (none / 0) (#22)
    by pitachips on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 01:58:11 PM EST
    He gave Cleveland 7 years. If he feels like it's the end of the road for him, then who could blame him?  

    Cleveland (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:04:48 PM EST
    But the problem I have is this show tonight.

    I think the only way (none / 0) (#29)
    by ruffian on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:30:44 PM EST
    this spectacle does not make him the guy everyone hates is if he stays in Cleveland.

    Cleveland has that working class hard scrabble aura. Maybe they don't have a huge fan following outside of Ohio, but at least no one hates them. Miami or NY? Oh yes, there will be hate.


    Skip the show (none / 0) (#31)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:37:52 PM EST
    and turn on Universal Sports from 8 to 10 see Usain Bolt running the 100 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Don't google him or you will already know the result.

    Cool (none / 0) (#32)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 03:39:39 PM EST
    i agree (none / 0) (#34)
    by pitachips on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 09:21:54 PM EST
    This was a bit much. He must know that anything less than a championship next year and the first thing the press is going to do is point back to this freak show.

    I still thought Chicago was the best fit for him.


    Chicago -- no. (none / 0) (#42)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 12:23:10 PM EST
    Too much of a Jordan Factor there.  The comparisons and pressure would have been more intense than even what he'll experience in Miami.

    Too bad Cleveland management didn't do a little more earlier to make his supporting cast stronger and/or improve the coaching situation.  I can't entirely blame LeBron for wanting to try something new after 7 yrs of frustration.

    Though, again, his curiously lackluster performance in some of the playoff games against the Celts last season does make me wonder about James and what was going on in his head and whether he wanted out of there.  Very odd ...


    methinks (none / 0) (#44)
    by pitachips on Sat Jul 10, 2010 at 01:24:37 PM EST
    There are a lot of things that were going on behind the scenes that we don't know about. The owner's reaction to me suggests that there was some kind of brewing distrust/hatred between the two way before this decision was ever made.

    Ohh the Lightning Bolt (none / 0) (#33)
    by DancingOpossum on Thu Jul 08, 2010 at 05:53:53 PM EST
    Much better than the Lebron Show! Thanks for the tip.

    Kobe Bryant as a folk hero (none / 0) (#35)
    by Cream City on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 08:42:27 AM EST
    makes me throw up a little in my mouth.

    Not to worry (none / 0) (#36)
    by CoralGables on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 09:22:18 AM EST
    that was hyperbole wrapped as an illusion of future fact.

    Now maybe the Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert feels that way, but he has ..ummm...hmmm....thrown a tantrum and taken his ball and gone home.


    He had a right to be p*ssed... (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 09:29:33 AM EST
    d*ck move by Lebron not giving him a courtesy call before the announcement...least he coulda done for his former employer.

    Maybe LeBron should (none / 0) (#38)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:29:25 AM EST
    have made that phone call, Gilbert is probably right there.  He's also probably ticked that LeBron seemed to tank in that last playoff series with the Celtics, where Cleveland had the upper hand at 2-1 then LeBron seemed to go weird on his team.

    That said, Gilbert's letter to the fans is wildly excessive in the harsh rhetoric and probably has added fuel to the Cleveland fans' fire -- not something to laugh off in this crazy day and with a fully armed citizenry out there, some of whom might decide to take things into their own hands on LeBron's next scheduled home town visit.


    That's a bit much brodie... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:49:05 AM EST
    there was anger in that letter, but nothing over the line.

    He's got tickets to sell that are much harder to sell...he's firing up his fan base.  I kinda liked the ballsy title prediction, hope the Cavs can make it happen...I definitely think the Heat are no shoe-in for a 'chip....it takes a team to win a title...right now they've only got 4 on the roster and little dough left to spend on the all-important role players.  


    Nah, I think Gilbert (none / 0) (#41)
    by brodie on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 12:19:04 PM EST
    could have taken the high road and merely expressed his "deep disappointment" and so forth, and gone on to talk boldly about the Cavs future w/o LeBron, but instead he goes on and on repeatedly laying it on thick in nasty personal terms of betrayal and disloyalty and selfishness and the like.

    That kind of language makes me uneasy, and unfortunately, with LeBron still having a home in that area, we need to think about possible consequences by a crazy or two.  Last night some idiots in Cleveland were burning his jersey.  I hope that's as far as it goes, but in the meantime I also hope Gilbert comes back later with a calmer message to his fans.  


    I'm not seeing... (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 12:53:20 PM EST
    your homicidal maniac angle here...it's just basketball, and if somebody is gonna kill over it they'll kill over anything...such people don't need to be "set off", and we shouldn't cater our speech so as not to "set off" homicidal maniacs...that would be one bland world.

    There was but one redeeming... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Fri Jul 09, 2010 at 11:50:52 AM EST
    moment during the stupid "The Decision" special...Jon Barry dropping a "Clarence Beeks and the crop report" reference...well played Jon!