Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why all the hype? LeBron's Reality Show in Retrospect

Way too much virtual ink has flowed over the past two weeks for me to give LeBron James, Inc.® much more undeserved press. If the 82-game NBA season and 16 team best-of-7 playoff season does not already drag into late June, what do we do to keep the NBA “Brand”® relevant in the off-season? Well, there is the NBA Lottery (a novel idea that aims to keep teams honest and keep things interesting—and works fairly well) and the draft; still, even with two picks each, how many teams will select even one player capable of contributing in the NBA? What to do? Enter: Free Agency Reality TV®!!!

While I won’t lie and say I wasn’t drawn in by the endless intrigue, the conspiracy theories, the insider leaks, etc., I will now admit that the entire charade was pretty ridiculous. The LeBronathon, The LeBrachelor, The LeBronocalypse (I recommend LA sports nemesis Bill Simmons’ entertaining column on the whole thing)—-call it what you will: it was fun while it lasted but like all reality shows, the pay-off was pretty unsatisfying. “Oh, so he’s going to Miami…” (hmmmm).

And, at what price? At the same time we sat on pins-and-needles awaiting “The Decision”®, Rafael Nadal won on the sacred grass and got one step closer to a grand slam; “La Roja,” the Spanish national team valiantly fought past Portugal and Germany to try to defend their Euro 2008 title with their first World Cup (in yet another all-Europe final); the Tour de France began; USC was levied more penalties for cheating (yay!); MLB pennant races are heating up, etc., etc., etc. BUT… drawn in by the hype, we ignored the joys of summer sports—-some that only come once every four years, to give place to the marketing ploys of the same David Stern Enterprises® that will fill our screens throughout the winter and well into next summer anyway.


Jeremy said...

I'll admit it: I wasn't drawn in at all. The Tour's on, man. Why would I care about some basketballer?

But I am liking all the post-act guilt (people who devoured the coverage and now feel a little dirty.) I especially loved the guy on Madow (and several NPR callers) deriding LeBron for abandoning Cleveland. You can't blame the guy for a) exercising his rights as "labor" and b) doing what more than 50% of Cleveland's populace has been doing for the last decade: Getting out.

dastew said...

Amen. Cleveland is not Xanadu. In fact it's closer to the 3rd Circle of Hell. What I find most amusing is ESPNs selectivity when it comes to "sports". I mean would people rather watch the professional billiards tour or australian rules football. I know what I'd chose but for some reason we're stuck watching pool. Or an ESPN documentary on the virtues of the USFL. ESPN is fast becoming to sports what MTV is to music videos.

Corry Cropper said...

Wait, wait.... who or what is a "LeBron"? A kind of car? I've been watching the world cup with the rest of the planet and haven't heard of this story.

Jeremy said...

RE: ESPN on its way to being MTV: My father told me how all parasitic media eventually die: First they cover event objectively, then they want to "shape" the event, eventually they control the event, and finally, they become the event.

He was talking about news, but it works for sport as well.

And it's nice to see Cropper's alive and condescending as always. I've been wondering if he would post on le tour, but I figure it's too popular among Americans for him to notice. :) Of course, since his mancrush Cavendish has *finally* won a couple of sprints, he may not be able to avoid mentioning it.