Contributed by Auggie
I want to like LeBron James, I really do. But he’s making it difficult. James is one of the faces of the NBA, and like other modern athletes he’s used his athletic popularity to brand himself as a global entertainment icon. The reason for James’ popularity on the hardwood is that he is good, really good. It’s not his personality which is no more interesting than two or three hundred other NBA players. But it seems to me that James is more worried about being a brand than being a great basketball player. If I were his publicist, my message would be this: “there is nothing better for the brand than being great at your craft, and a couple rings wouldn’t hurt”.
The latest thing stuck in my craw is the televised announcement of his free agency decision (tonight). Is this really necessary? I had been blaming the media (as I am wont to do) for over blowing the ‘summer of LeBron’ for two years and then complaining two days after the free agency period began because they are sick of all the talk. But this one is all on LeBron. I already thought his whole free agency courting process was a bit tawdry, but this televised event brings it to a new level; “All bow to the King - tune in tonight and I’ll declare who will be blessed with my greatness for the coming years”. I won’t be tuning in. There will be more slobbering at that event than a puppy convention.
LeBron ought to be working on his jumper. I don’t pretend to know his off season workout schedule but I’m guessing he doesn’t have the work ethic of MJ and Kobe. If James would develop a consistent long-range jumper and a couple low-post moves he could be the greatest ever. Maybe if he could televise his workouts he would have a real incentive.