Friday, July 2, 2010

A Kingdom For The King...

I haven't followed the NBA very closely of late, but this piece by Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski is an excellent bit of writing - not just sports writing, writing - on the situation faced by free agent superstar LeBron James, and how it illustrates one of life's great truths - that we're never as popular with other people as when they want something from us. Like a debutante Helen of Troy James has begun listening to suitors, and each of the teams that thinks it has a chance to sign him - New York, Miami, Chicago, and all the rest - will do everything it can to make him think that it is the team that can make him happy and successful. Money, fame, enduring greatness - all will be laid out before him in turn. As Posnanski notes, however, James may very well find the sparkle of his chosen destination fades quickly once he signs on the dotted line and pleading hope is replaced by what are sure to be demanding expectations. As we learned once again from the Tiger Woods situation, it is next-to-impossible for the public to really know any professional athlete - revealing glimpses of their inner selves is not part of their job descriptions - but James genuinely seems like a good guy, one who would make a decision like this without thinking through the implications, nor leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in the lurch without agonizing over it. But I hope he enjoys the adulation he's getting now, because for a professional athlete hell has no fury like an opposing fanbase scorned, and he's going to be a lot less popular in all but one NBA city come next season.

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