Decision will end misery of media circus

Published 2:25 am Thursday, July 8, 2010

If sports fans were horses, they would be screaming for the veterinarian to put them to sleep and out of their misery.

The on-going soap opera known as free agent LeBron James’ decision where to play for the next few seasons is at hand. The choice will be made live shortly after 9 p.m. on ESPN.

Although the announcement is expected to come within the first 10 minutes of the broadcast, the show will last one hour, probably to show what James’ decision means to the team of his choice and how it effects the rest of the league and the teams he bypassed.

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James has been catching a lot of grief in the media for this grandstand move. His ego seems to have hired a contractor to add an addition. But let’s not blame James’ entirely for this circus.

First of all, the guy is just 25 years old. He went straight to the NBA out of high school. The announcement of his decision on TV is his chance to relive the moment he missed during his senior year. He wasn’t able to pick up the hat or jersey of the college team he had chosen. Now he gets to have his courtship on a greater scale.

And let’s not forget that the advertising money for “The Decision” will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and not in his pocket. He gets a gold star for that decision.

Part of the problem for James handling of the situation is his support or advisory staff. These guys don’t have any experience in public relations or negotiations. They’re good ole boys, his buddies. It’s like Sam Malone asking Norm, Cliff and Frazier if he should make a comeback during the happy hour at Cheers.

But the biggest instigator in this farce is the media itself, mainly ESPN. They created this monster with their wall-to-wall coverage. They analyzed every move. They have a cabinet of writers and broadcasters weighing in with their opinions and reports what might be happening according to their sources.

With 24-hour news and sports networks, there aren’t enough sporting events to fill the schedule, so they need more and more talk shows to discuss every detail over and over.

We’ve seen it before. The Tim Tebow story has been beaten to death. Some members of the media have hailed him as the greatest quarterback in the history of college football. He wasn’t even the best quarterback in the college football last season.

It’s nothing against Tebow. He didn’t create the hype.

And so it goes with other players. The media builds a player up to an unbelievable and unobtainable level, then rips him or her apart because they didn’t perform to their expectations.

There are a lot of predictions where James will land. Many are certain it will be in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Others say New York or Chicago.

If it wasn’t for the fact James’ advisors lack the intelligence and class needed in this matter, I would be certain he was staying in Cleveland.

James is loved in Cleveland. If he wins a championship, they’ll erect a statue. If he doesn’t, he’ll still be loved for staying home. Cleveland fans love their players. It would be a real slap in the face for James to go on TV and announced to the country that he was abandoning those fans who have supported him through the good and the bad.

If James goes somewhere else, he will be expected to win a championship. Heck, they’ll expect three or more.

Sometime tonight we’ll finally know the answer. And then we can find some other horse we can beat to death.

—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.