At 9:00 PM tonight, the narcissistic farce will end. After years of fueled anticipation, the “King” finally will grant us an audience. LeBron James will announce which NBA team he will grace with his presence for the next few years. Does anyone even care at this point? LeBron’s self-appointed nickname, King James, says much. The word play is less than witty. The referent monarch was the successor to a far more magnetic and impressive one. The nickname is contrived and entirely undeserved.
Michael Jordan never termed himself “King Jordan.” It would have been redundant. He was king. Jordan never called himself a brand. He was a brand. No matter what room he’s in, Jordan is the biggest presence in the room. He’s the celebrity celebrities feel nervous around. His “I’m Back” was brilliant because of its restraint. The act was so simple, yet it sparked absolute chaos.
If LeBron had Jordan’s gravitas, he would have disappeared. He would have created that twitter account, would have left it sitting there for days, would have tweeted “Miami” and would have chortled as the story erupted live on ESPN. Jordan would have handled this masterfully. LeBron has gone from zero to Favre on the hatred scale in less than 24 hours.
He’s not manipulating the hysteria. He’s actively hyping it. Making cryptic remarks for years. Holding court for the supplicants from various teams. Renting out ESPN for an hour. It’s as forced as the Cavs’ stadium antics. LeBron isn’t the baddest guy in the bar. He’s the guy in the smedium flexing.
LeBron is no marketing genius. He’s an overgrown teenager surrounded by yes men and minions. He’s renting out a lounge basement, forcing all of us to come, serenading us with his cover of “My Philosophy” and fishing for compliments. He wants attention and he wants reassurance. Who could blame him after the stink-bomb that was his Celtics series?
Perhaps, Cleveland will be devastated by a LeBron departure, but, even at the height of his popularity, they would have traded him in a second to “Witness” a competent Browns quarterback. LeBron found a loophole in July. Football is still “king.”
[Photo via Getty]