LeBron James rebranded for the Post-Decision world. Part of that process was joining Twitter. The self-proclaimed King has given us unprecedented and unfiltered access to his feelings, observations and errant thoughts. He has caused a few controversies, but on aggregate his tweets reveal a truth at odds with his existence. He’s irrepressibly average.
His tweets disappoint. His life is abnormal. He has been a golden calf since he was 16 and a multi-million dollar enterprise since he was 18. He should be malformed, but, barring a bit of ignorance, he’s not. He’s bland. Were he not the most gifted athlete professional sports has ever seen, he would blend seamlessly into the 85 percent of your Facebook feed you don’t pay attention to.
People in their 20s bond through pop culture. Looking at LeBron’s tweets since the New Year. He quotes Kanye lyrics. He finally joined the postmortem Michael Jackson bandwagon. B.J. Raji’s touchdown dance tickled his funny bone. Three completely average thoughts. Nothing original, sexy or political. Nothing that inspires further analysis.
Extend his pop-culture consciousness to childhood nostalgia. One of his retweets was “Who remembers Number (Munchers) and Oregon Trail.” Everyone in their mid to late 20s remembers those games. In the early to mid-1990’s every school had computers. No one knew how to relate them to education. Students learned how to type, how to solve simple math problems and how to make your way to the West Coast with a tolerable number of family members intact. Again, the reference choice is characterless and unreadable.
His cited words of wisdom are completely cookie-cutter. He slightly alters an Albert Gray quotation “Winners develop the habits of doing things that losers don’t like to do.” He retweets a quote from Gandhi, the most homogenized, oft-cited and universal mind of the twentieth century.
Even his “controversies” are generic. LeBron called out Daniel Gibson for referring to himself as the new King of Cleveland at a party. Getting upset over that is not normal, but posting a tweet or a status update with a veiled shot at someone you’re angry with is. LeBron just happens to have a seven-figure audience.
Now, “The Decision” was definitely eccentric, but you have to wonder how much was LeBron and how much was miscalculation by his handlers. The one thing we can assume he handled was getting dressed. He chose the same gingham, button-down shirt every post collegiate male owns. You can’t walk into a bar without seeing four of them.
LeBron is boring. He’s great to watch, nothing of real interest to say. He can’t even drudge up enough personality to be a decent villain, and it affects how he’s covered. He dropped the infamous soldier tweet which sparked “outrage.” Part of this was every media dick wanting to feign offense on behalf of our military and blow hard about the obvious disparity between basketball and literal warfare. However, part of it was a need to build LeBron up, to make everything he does seem as important and iconic as his athleticism dictates it should be. There has to be some greater narrative behind it.
We can’t comprehend that he’s just a balanced, unimaginative guy who is really awesome at basketball. His colorless existence fuels his greatest critique. He’s not Michael Jordan. It’s not the rings so much as his perceived lack of a “killer instinct.” There’s a reason they call it a killer instinct, because it’s crazy. Jordan was pathological. He had to compete. He had to win. He was obsessed with it. He was anything but normal. It worked spectacularly on the basketball court, not so much in his personal life.
LeBron may be the guy who gets along with everyone and who passes the last shot to an open teammate. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with that. It’s just boring.
[Photo via Getty]