Quick sports break

Let’s take a short LeBreak from government news on this slow July day for a basketball update.

Here are three good takes  from solid sportswriters on how LeBron James has jumped the shark and damaged his reputation during this year’s free agent process.

ESPN’s Bill Simmons calls tonight’s ESPN special “car wreck television,” writing, I don’t think LeBron James has anyone in his life with enough juice to hurl his or her body in front of the concept of “I’m going to announce during a one-hour live show that I’m playing somewhere other than Cleveland.” It’s the best and worst thing about him — he has remained fiercely loyal to his high school friends, but at the same time, he’s surrounded by people his own age who don’t stand up to him and don’t know any better. Picking anyone other than Cleveland on this show would be the meanest thing any athlete has ever done to a city. But he might. Assuming he’s not malicious, and that he’s just a self-absorbed kid who apparently lost all perspective, that doesn’t make him much different than most child stars who became famous before they could legally drink — or, for that matter, Tiger Woods. That’s just the way this stuff works. Too much, too fast, too soon.

Sports Illustrated’s Jack McCallum argues, the big story, of course, was LeBron, who, drunk on the magnificence of his own LeBron-ness, is utterly clueless of how ridiculous this whole process has been, the monumental amount of self-importance attached to scheduling a one-hour show when you have zero championship rings and, at last glance, were seen folding like a beach chair against the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

And the Detroit Free Press’s Mitch Albom critiques both James the news media in his column.

Maybe I’m channeling my crusty Ohio grandpa’s take on the situation, but I agree the whole scenario has become an embarrassment for both sports and journalism. And no, I won’t be watching this evening.
With that — back to Capitol news!

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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