Thursday, July 08, 2010

Head-case nation

I wish to associate myself with Mitch Albom's remarks in the
Detroit Free Press:
Note to journalism students. When we celebrate investigative reporting, it's for issues like war crimes, nursing home scandals or police corruption. It's not to report that LeBron James has opened a Twitter account.

But that was a "major" headline Wednesday. And James' first Tweet was Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building "Finally."

Honestly, who calls himself "King"?

Which brings me back to the man himself, who, after a few years of relative humility, now seems, at 25, to be stepping onto some assumed throne atop the world, like that "Airbender" kid, as if the rest of the planet naturally should step aside.

Excuse me if I turn my back. I no longer care less where LeBron James plays. I'm sick of the whole story. The number of supposedly respectable people tripping over themselves to hand him $100 million should make all of them and many of us ashamed.

In a country where people are out of work or out in the streets, LeBron's basketball home was never important. But spilling money on his head is downright insulting.


Still, the final cherry on this ego sundae is the televised event tonight, an hour-long ESPN special at 9 o'clock (an hour?) in which James will announce who wins the right to wrap its money around his arrogance.

Only in America could we keep inventing reality TV that fantastically outshames the previous low mark. A prime-time event? To announce a free-agent signing? And don't point out that some proceeds go to charity. You want to give to charity, quietly write a check. Don't get a network to do it for you so it gets to pump its shows and you get to shower yourself in international coverage -- while calling it philanthropy.

The NBA has embarrassed itself here. The media have embarrassed themselves. And a guy who calls himself "King" may be beyond embarrassment, which is truly embarrassing.

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