As a basketball fan it has been impossible to avoid the NBA free agency circus that has overtaken the sports world for the past few weeks. In fact, even though I am the furthest thing from a Lakers fan there is, I pity the team for not getting much attention for their second consecutive championship, a feat that is not easy for even a team as talented Los Angeles. Though I have been interested in free agency, i haven’t been much interested in the LeBron show.
For those of us that root for teams that aren’t in the hunt for LeBron, whether he signs with Miami, New York, Chicago, or stays in Cleveland, LeBron will still be the same player who hasn’t led his team to a championship.
LeBron is the best individual player in the NBA today, Kobe used to be but he learned how to be better. Kobe Bryant is ultimately the best player in the league because he has learned that he needs to be the leader of the team. Sometimes being a leader means doing things behind the scenes, because what happens when the spotlight is not on you is what makes you a champion. Being a leader whether the ball is in your hands or not is what it takes to win.
Not to say that showmanship and entertainment don’t have their place in sports. I am the type of person that would much rather watch a run n’ gun team that is exciting and may ultimately not win a championship, than watch a team that wins without any style points.
Sure, LeBron joining Twitter may be a great way for fans to connect with the King, but choosing to have your own hour-long TV special to announce your decision on where you will play on next season is a little much though. While LeBron is one of the biggest names in the game, and probably in basketball history if all continues to go well for him, there are some side shows to go along with the center ring (insert your own “or lack thereof” joke here) of this circus.
The side shows to this circus, meaning the rest of the NBA, seem like second rate entertainment compared to the main attraction. The way LeBron’s friends Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade announced their plans to sign with the Miami Heat was hardly eventful. The Thunder’s Kevin Durant announced reaching his deal through Twitter, a year before he even reached free agency. Avoiding the frenzy of what would be next off-season’s free agency period sends a message to your team, that you a ready to play basketball. This approach by KD seems professional and perfect for fans, yet completely out of place this off-season.
At least James has chosen to use the proceeds of the show for a good cause. All the proceeds will go to charity. Which I guess makes the ego-centric approach a little less selfish.
However, it makes me wonder why the NBA doesn’t have its own free agency signing show each season the way the draft is held. Would people watch? Maybe not, but some people won’t be watching the LeBron show either.
I guess this does make LeBron bigger than the NBA itself.
The NBA may be where amazing happens, but the LeBron show, now that might just be the greatest show on earth. Watch out Ringling Brothers!