America will be able to sleep again tonight--LeBron James is about to let us know which NBA franchise will have the "honor" of paying him about 100-million dollars over the next six years to dribble a basketball and throw it in an iron hoop. This has been the only sports story ESPN and the other networks have decided to cover since the Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs. Do we even remember who actually won the NBA Championship last month? I know LeBron wasn't playing for them.
Football fans have been accustomed to this "one man overshadows the whole legue" scenario for several years now, as the same sports networks have waited breathlessly for Brett Favre to decide if he is going to "retire" or "unretire" every summer. But LeBron is taking the "Favre-Watch" lunacy one step farther by announcing his decision not at a tearful press conference or through his personal website but as part of an hour-long TV special on ESPN.
Not even the NFL's all-time leading interception thrower was able to turn his "emotional decision" into a made-for-TV event! Sure, he would tease the people with appearances on Jay Leno or David Letterman "dropping hints" for laughs--but an entire primetime special? That ups narcissism to a whole 'nother level!
The only thing left for Brett to do now to one-up LeBron is to demand a reality show series every summer. Episode 1 of "As the Brett Favre Turns": Brett has his ankle operated on!! Is this a sign that he is coming back--or is he in too much pain to ride the tractor on the farm? Episode 2: Brett spends an afternoon throwing passes to high school kids!! Is this how he keeps his arm in shape? Or is he just trying help out his old school? Episode 3: The flashing light on Brett's answering machine: Is that Brad Childress or the seed salesman? Every episode would have to end with a tearful Brett pondering if he "still has it in him" to take that beating and play one more season. The live finale comes on Opening Sunday of the NFL season--as the audience (and the Vikings) wonder if Purple Number Four is going to run out of the tunnel in time for kickoff. Who needs Training Camp?
Back to LeBron--a day's pay says a lot of this TV special nonsense is being driven by Nike. Don't be surprised if there are several Nike commercials in the show featuring LeBron "amazingly" in his new jersey dunking and hitting last second shots and raising the Larry O'Brien Trophy in some kind of dream sequence. Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh will "somehow" be in that commercial as well (all Nike endorsers--coincidence?).
So enjoy the spotlight tonight LeBron--"As the Brett Favre Turns" debuts tomorrow--check your local listings.