LeBron James decision generates plenty of offseason interest

LeBron James ended nearly two years of speculation by choosing to sign with the Miami Heat, causing heartbreak in Cleveland and hoopla in Miami.
By Mike Wise
Thursday, July 8, 2010

[Updated: July 8, 9:30 a.m.]

Many people have asked me recently, "Mike, you used to cover the NBA regularly -- do you know where LeBron James is going?"

Being the responsible kind of columnist who checks his facts before he writes, I always promptly reply, "Yes.

"LeBron is going to Hades, which will be almost as miserable as Cleveland tonight. He will be sent there for putting us through this narcissistic charade in which one basketball player who has won exactly zero NBA championships has decided to hold a league hostage because nothing else is on TV."

Will I watch "The Decision" at 9 p.m. on ESPN? Of course I will watch. Even though the suspense might be waning, if you believe the reports that James appears set to join Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade in Miami to tilt the NBA's axis of power.

Because let's face it, America, other than authenticating the Shroud of Turin or finding a bathtub stopper big enough to plug a spewing hole in the Gulf, are any of life's real mysteries left other than where James will be playing this October?

Did you know some poor schlub from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer filed a report at 3:27 a.m. Thursday morning -- about a pro basketball player!

Is anyone from Kandahar filing a report at 3:27 a.m.? Is anyone inside the West Wing up at 3:27 a.m.? Is LeBron even watching himself on an NBATV loop at 3:27 a.m.?

Nonetheless, I must watch. I will watch because I am being taught the vapid, mindless value of reality TV. Like a hopelessly gullible new bride that can't believe Jake the control freak picked Vienna over all those other blow-dried nothings -- and now relishes in their unseemly breakup -- the NBA version of "The Bachelor" finale has reeled me in.

Why? Because the basic two elements of essential viewing exist: a celebrity in emotional turmoil in prime time, followed by an abject meltdown at 11.

I'm not talking about LeBron melting down; he'll be fine whether he goes to Miami, stays in Cleveland or just signs autographs for adult children of journalists in Bristol, Conn., the rest of his life.

The league right now reminds me of the mortgage crisis: big-splash signings and prime-time announcements giving a veneer of glitz to a system crumbling under the weight of its own irresponsibility.

CONTINUED     1           >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company