Opinion: This Whole LeBron-Fest thing

It’s amazing how influential this NBA free agent fest has been so far. From full-on sports geeks to the sporting equivalent of Luddites, people have been engaged by the wooing of Messrs. James, Wade, Bosh, and Johnson, et al. Daily news reports on the local morning, afternoon, and evening news. Daily detailed reports from Candy Crowley of ESPN, down to when Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov took a dump (okay, I made that part up). Hell, I’m not even a basketball fan, and I know what a max contract and the “Larry Bird rule” are.

Yet, this near-universal fascination is absolutely sickening, as Dan Graziano wrote on SNY.tv.

It’s not just that people across the country are all cock-a-hoop with wondering which teams (or team) will plunk down ridiculous sums of money. It’s not just this is yet another paragon of American excess.

It’s just that there are other sports on.

Look, I’m not going to blame LeBron, Dwyane, or Amar’e – they didn’t make this system, they’re just taking advantage of it, and that’s there prerogative. Hell, I’m not even going to blame the owners and the players’ union, who actually made this system, largely because nine times out of ten, I couldn’t care less about it. But I am going to blame ESPN and the bunch for using up precious time on this money pit that could be spent covering other sports.

And what sports! Running concurrent with the “NBA Summer of 2010,” you have Wimbledon, a tightening baseball pennant race, and the largest sporting event in the world, the FIFA World Cup. You can add on even the fringe sports (e.g. the Hot Dog eating contest and Canadian football – but the latter’s another post). And yet, instead of looking at the action on the field (or the court, or the pitch, or the hot dog stand), we turn to Cleveland, Ohio, and the offices of the agent of one Mr. LeBron James.

Have we really gotten so bored to consign ourselves to constant analysis on what can only be analyzed via telepathy? Have we really gotten so petty to consign ourselves to watching pitched combat of checkbooks instead of pitched combats of bats, balls, or even hot dogs and buns? Or have sports just gotten so caught up in sponsorships and money that the contracts to play the games, and not the games themselves, are what actually matters?

I don’t know what the answer is. But something’s gotta give, because when the games are on and SportsCenter‘s got Candy Crowley discussing in great detail Mikhail Prokhorov’s turds, we’ve got a problem.


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