One of the oddities about ESPN, which rules the world of sports the way that Matt Drudge rules the world of news, is that it was founded in the earky 1980s with this bizarre name, the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. After tomorrow night, they finally ackbowledge reality and change the name...to EPN. We live in a world where it's all about the entertainment, with a capital "E"and the sports is an afterthought. And now here is "King James" to deliver the final dagger.
Sometimes you don't see the tipping point until long after it arrives, but in this case I think we can all agree that July 8, 2010, will remembered at the day that we ratified two decades of American sports becoming less of a game and more of a reality show. If I were LeBron James and I had just led my team to a withering defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics, I'd be in the gym Thursday night. Instead, he'll be in ESPN's studios for an hour to announce the King's annointment of his new team that likely won't make it to the NBA Finals either. It's the last step on an extreme makeover of LBJ that also includes a new website, a new Twitter feed, and -- just what the world needed -- a more self-centered outlook on life.
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has followed LeBron more closely than any journalist, and he is appalled. He does not recognize this guy:
James' plans were in the works in some form for months, according to sources, having talked with ESPN about filming his entire free-agency process for a documentary. For a while, this included some plans to take a tour across the country and visit interested teams.
When the Cavs lost in the playoffs to the Boston Celtics and James played several of the worst playoff games of his career, those plans were scrapped. But it ultimately seems to have led to the strategy to capture the basketball world's attention with a never-before-seen television special.
Where the changes will stop is still unclear, but there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.
No, there doesn't. In an ideal world, the NBA team that the King so graciously taps with his sword tomorrow should decline the honor and focus on building an actual team.
That's not going to happen.
This is an open thread -- all topics are on the floor.