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Why LeBronenfreude Is Okay

As much as I wanted the Mavericks beat the Heat, I also dreaded it, because I knew it would bring out the holiest of the holier-than-thous in the sportswriting racket, ready to leap all over LeBron James because he had not earned it yet. I’m assuming such people dislike him in large part because of the way he left Cleveland, which brings up a thorny sports-related issue I’ve discussed on this site before: If you think an athlete did something that makes them a bad human being, saying that a loss on the playing field/court is “just deserts” for that offense implies that a win would have redeemed the offender.

LeBron James is nowhere near as awful as some of the examples I’ve cited in the past. Really, his only “crime” was to turn his back on the established narrative of his career. If you want, you can add toying with Cleveland’s emotions to the list, plus rubbing salt in the city’s collective wound by celebrating his move to Miami like a 45-year-old creep who just divorced a woman his age and snared a trophy wife. All crummy behavior, to be sure, but not as bad as guys like Ben Roethlisberger or Michael Vick, whose failures to win championships were seen by some sportswriters as “payback” for their off-the-field deeds, an attitude that suggested winning would have forgiven them their trespasses.

So in the immediate aftermath, I cringed at the thought of such pieces on LeBron. I even considered feeling sorry for a 26-year-old billionaire who had so many expectations resting on his shoulders. Not to mention that obsessing over what he did or did not do during the Finals served to diminish what the Mavericks accomplished. By concentrating on LeBron’s “failures,” you essentially say that Miami lost the series more than Dallas won it, which seems extremely unfair to everyone involved. Then there was the narrative of the Mavs being a “team-oriented” squad while the Heat were a “superstar” one, which is usually sportswriter code for “we’re rooting for the white guy.”

So there were a few reasons, initially, to not want to join in piling on LeBron. Until he opened his mouth, that is. Then I realized all the haterade was justified. Maybe even necessary. Because the truth is, he is one eminently hateable human being.

First, it was his postgame press conference response to questions about the hate that’s heaped on him, and how that makes him feel. Now, there’s no easy way to answer this. It’s the kind of question for which a million different responses can come across as whiny or insensitive. Luckily for us, LeBron left no room for ambiguity. He exposed his soul by giving the absolute most head-slappingly douchey answer possible.

All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today. They have the same personal problems they had today.

As bad as that looks in print, it was even worse when voiced. It was not an off-the-cuff remark spoken without thinking in a moment of weakness and frustration. The ease with which he said these words indicated they were thoroughly premeditated, a line he either rehearsed or believes in his heart of hearts.

Now, do people who actively root for the failure of others have problems? Yes, to varying degrees, depending on how deep and sincere those wishes are. And I suppose anyone’s life appears to be full of “personal problems” compared to someone who will never have to worry about money. But to actually say something like this out loud, that only people with crappy lives dislike you, that takes a colossal amount of ego and self delusion. About the same amount that would make you call yourself “King James” when you’ve yet to win anything, I guess.

Not long after this insanity, he tweeted that the Heat didn’t win because “The Greater Man upstairs know when it’s my time. Right now isn’t the time.” Amazingly, after years of comedians joking about athletes blaming God when they lose, someone actually went and did it. It wasn’t LeBron who failed to show up in the fourth quarter of every game this series, but God.

Also, note the use of the phrase “The Greater Man.” I’ve never heard that used to mean “God.” People usually say, “The Big Man Upstairs,” or something like that. The use of a comparative word (Greater) implies that LeBron thinks he’s on a plane comparable to The Almighty. You know, not quite as big as The Creator, just a few ticks below.

To top it all off, we find out on Monday that LeBron didn’t talk to ABC or ESPN because, according to Jack Ramsay, “James felt the network didn’t report “The Decision” accurately.” That goes beyond chrome-plated balls. That takes gonads made of pure adamantium.

How the holy hell could ESPN not have reported “The Decision” accurately?! They gave LeBron an hour-long infomercial and asked him exactly zero hard questions! ESPN could not have treated him more reverently. The network has LeBron in the same space in their pantheon as Brett Favre (pre-dick pics), someone whose every move will be obsessively followed but never questioned. What more could LeBron want from them? The Oprah soft-focus-lens treatment on every dunk?

I wonder if LeBron is trying to play The Heel, because I can’t think of another reason why he would say such inflammatory things otherwise. Well, except that maybe he’s still a spoiled child whose had nothing but sycophants and enablers in his life for so long that he has zero perspective.

LeBron has been told he’s The Best for so long that the words have no literal meaning to him. LeBron James is The Best. The Best is LeBron James. Everything else in his life must be redefined to fit into these parameters. Those who deny his Bestness do so only because they have personal problems. If he is denied a championship, it is because of an act of God. If “The Decision” makes him look like a creep in the eyes of some, it must be the faulty reportage of the network that carried it, even though said network gave him complete creative control.

If you believe this might be a form of mental illness, you’re free to reserve judgment. Otherwise, hate away.

What Should LeBron Do?

What should I do?

Should I tell you I made mistakes? Or should I just imply it was my teammates’ fault? That always worked before.

Should I paraphrase Maya Angelou and implicitly compare her narrative of black struggle in America to me getting a shit-ton of money to play in Miami? Classy, huh?

Should I go to Chris Bosh’s housewarming party? He just had a thing at his place last week and I brought a nice bottle of wine. That should be enough, right?

Should I just sell shoes? Because that’s basically what I’ve been doing so far and it’s worked out pretty good.

Should I be who you want me to be? Because I don’t change myself for nobody. Except Dwayne Wade.

Should I get Thai for lunch? I just had it yesterday but I’m still feelin it, you know?

Should I stop listening to my friends? C’mon, they’re my friends. If your friends asked you to stop listening to your friends, would you do it? I would. That’s the kind of friend I am.

Should I go on this whitewater rafting trip with Delonte West? I think it’s gonna be really awkward.

Should I be the villain? If so, I want a really big office with a shark tank. A villain ain’t nothin without a shark tank.

Should I really do this Miami Vice segment with Don Johnson, even though I was like negative-three when that show was canceled?

Should I carry Dwayne Wade’s bags into the locker room? And should I let him make me wear a bellhop cap when I do it?

Should I destroy a pristine professional-level basketball court with a bulldozer? Is that a big enough let-them-eat-cake moment? What if I burn a gold-covered Dead Sea Scroll?

Should I be who you want me to be? Because if it’ll get me 5 extra bucks, I will totally do it.

Transcripts from the LeBron Tapes

Don’t think for one min that I haven’t been taking mental notes
of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!
— @KingJames, 8.10.2010

lebronnixon.jpgKing James: You take a fellow like this Michael Jordan, I notice–he is always creating something, isn’t he?

Bosh: He incidentally is on–you shouldn’t get involved in this, but he’s on our list, too.

King James: Good.

Bosh: They’re going after a couple of ex-ballers. They’re going after Charles Barkley, too.

King James: Like what? Have they been making any money on the outside?

Bosh: Those two? You kidding me? We think they might have something on them, yeah. I think we can finally get [NBA commissioner David] Stern to admit he really suspended Jordan for gambling that time when he pretended to play baseball. Just want to harass them. Just give them a little trouble.

King James: Exactly. Pound these people.

Bosh: Just give them something to worry about.

King James: It’s routine.

Bosh: Yeah. Oh, that’s right, you talked to [Dwayne] Wade today, too. He was trying to dig up some dirt of Kevin Durant. I can’t even remember why.

King James: That subdued extension announcement of his. No ESPN special. No dry ice. Nothing. Just tweeted about it, like he’s trying to out-humble me. Pissed me off.

Bosh: Should we sic Jim Gray on him? The man’s loyal.

King James: Gray? He ain’t no attack dog.

Bosh: Are you kidding? Dig you see him rip apart Corey Pavin?

King James: Alright, but do it through the proper channels. We can’t have this shit coming back to me.

Bosh: Of course.

King James: [inaudible] Delonte West?

Bosh: He was traded with Sebastain Telfair, then released by the Timberwolves. Haven’t we done enough?

The Unbearable Lameness of Chris Paul

Yesterday, Barry Petchesky at Deadspin wondered why Chris Paul’s public and prolonged demand to be traded from the New Orleans Hornets was not getting the same amount of “outrage” as LeBron James’ Decision/Hank Scorpio-esque unveiling in Miami. There is a very simple reason: While Chris Paul’s gambit is a total dick move, it is also totally lame.

The NBA free agent frenzy is, for all intents and purposes, over (the fact that Tracy McGrady is the most coveted remaining free agent would indicate so). The weeping and gnashing of teeth over L’Affaire LeBron has subsided, at least until the basketball season begins anew. With football training camps opening within the next week, NFL talk is starting to dominate the sports talk-o-sphere (C).

In other words, there’s no damn reason at all to be hearing from Mr. Paul. But clearly, he saw what LeBron did and stomped his feet and thought, “I shall not be out-douched!”

You could argue that what Chris Paul did was worse than what LeBron did. After all, LeBron’s free agency was anticipated by every human being on the planet for years (at least that’s what ESPN says). As crappily as he handled the whole thing, everyone and his mom (especially your mom) knew he might leave Cleveland. Paul’s demands to be traded, on the other hand, came out of nowhere, and were seemingly motivated by little more than LeBron’s histrionics.

However, while LeBron certainly deserves scorn, Paul only deserves laughter. Because what LeBron did, when he did it and how he did it, was a supremely shitty thing to do. But what Paul idid is just funny.

Coming on the heels of LeBron’s move, Paul’s machinations had the feeling of a shameless attempt to exploit a fad that’s already passed. It’s like releasing a third or fourth lambada movie in 1990. Or rushing into the studio to record a swing album in 2001. Or pretty much the entire Golan-Globus filmography. If LeBron is Rambo, then Paul is Cobra.

The overall lameness of Paul’s move is accentuated by the fact that he didn’t have a leg to stand on. The Hornets had neither the incentive nor the imperative to trade him. Paul couldn’t opt out of his contract. Basically, he had zero power in this situation, but operated as if he was in total control. Depending on your perspective, that either takes an enormous amount of balls or an amazing lack of brains.

Paul seems to realize this now; on Monday, he had meetings with the Hornets, and made statements afterward that indicated he was throwing in the towel. Because when it comes to the offseason, no one wants to be the free agent equivalent of Delta Force 3 or Death Wish 5.

The Venn Intersection of Stupid, Entitled, and Untalented

luthercampbell.jpgWriting is hard. Writing on a deadline is especially hard. I don’t envy reporters who have to file daily or even weekly, because some days, the mental pen runs dry and there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it.

So I almost wanna give Dan LeBatard a mulligan on this article from last Sunday’s Miami Herald, entitled “Miami Heat’s 3 Live Crew has rapper Campbell jazzed” (which would have escaped me entirely, but for a tweet from @scharpling). Look, it’s the summer and who can concentrate on writing, especially in Miami? Maybe he just decided to throw a bunch of crap in one piece, hope to connect the pieces, and move on.

But when a writer does verbal contortions to connect Luther Campbell to LeBron James, I can’t let that go uncommented upon.

LeBatard’s premise: By joining the Heat, LeBron has proved himself a rebel and provocateur, much like Luther Campbell did when he “shocked” America in the late 80s/early 90s. Yup. Here’s the money quote:

Rebels and pioneers and villains create many emotions. Indifference is not one of them.


LeBatard tries to tie Campbell to LeBron by several unstable threads. For one, he tries to compare the completely over-the-top and tone deaf introduction of LeBron and Chris Bosh in Miami to the Miami Hurricane teams of the early 90s.

Campbell was at the center of those epic and hated University of Miami football teams that changed college football’s landscape from marching bands and sis-boom-blah to something a lot more fun and envied and despised and different. It was an insane time and an insane team, a controversial rap star on the sidelines, putting cash bounties on Notre Dame players as the violent and fast Hurricanes team he cheered devoured college football with the kind of teeth and hunger you see when piranhas are feeding.

Yeah, that sounds just like something the Heat should try and emulate. That Miami football team where no one went to class and they pretended to shoot players on the sideline and falsified federal loan applications. What a time to be young!

Both LeBatard and Campbell try to spin this as if people are upset about LeBron, Bosh, and Dwayne Wade engineering the move to Miami on their own, because we all can’t stand young, talented, black athletes taking charge of their destinies. There may a small kernel of truth to that for some people, and race plays more of role in sports than many are willing to admit.

However, I believe most folks hate this move because LeBron jerked around Cleveland for years, then announced his intentions in the most classless, ham-fisted way possible, and then had a huge, ostentatious ceremony in Miami with his bestest new buddies like he did us all a favor by letting us in on the celebration. All while ESPN reported it as such and didn’t dare ask one hard question.

Campbell even says, “his guy came to Dwayne Wade’s kingdom, and gave up his own kingdom to do it,” and says “kids in the ‘hood” will love that. Really? Kids in the ‘hood will love the fact that he didn’t want to try to win on his own, and decided to come to Wade’s “kingdom” and ride his coattails? I’m not exactly the most street guy in the world, but that sounds like a total pussy move to me.

Later, LeBatard echoes this idea that LeBron’s move is daring and a bold new direction: “James and Wade weren’t going to be the next Michael Jordan the way they were doing it, trying to go through each other.” And now we all hate them because we hate change, according to him. No, Dan, we hate this because it’s a total cop out on LeBron’s part. The guy who was always sold–and sold himself–as The King decided he’d rather be a lesser peer in someone else’s realm.

LeBatard says the tone and style of this move was “hip hop” and as such offended people who are turned off by that genre. I guess it was kind of like hip hop, but more like really bad hip hop. The kind with album covers of someone sitting in a bejeweled throne next to a Mercedes being washed by a chick in a white bikini, as a mansion glistens in the background. The kind of hip hop that disappeared by the early 00s and now litters used CD bins everywhere.

Which brings us to another big problem with LeBatard’s article: While LeBron James is one of the best basketball players alive, Luther Campbell is one of the worst rappers ever. Ever.

I still can’t believe that he was singled out by cranky family values types, because however filthy his songs are, they’re also some of the dumbest, talent-free things ever committed to tape. In the battle between terrible rappers and book-burners, I have to side with the Luther Campbells of the world, but it’s a shame that someone without an ounce of creativity or talent became a poster child for free speech.

Maybe it’s just a regional thing, and Miami is more provincial than I thought. Maybe Luther Campbell is revered as some sort of pioneer in Miami, and there’s statues of him next to Dan Marino, Don Shula, and all the coke dealers who built downtown. But I defy anyone, with a straight face, to tell me that Luther Campbell has made any music worth listening to for more than three seconds.

Five years ago, 2 Live Crew played at The Gathering of the Juggalos. Enough said.

I understand that if you’re a Heat fan (or write about them), there’s really no way to justify this like a rational, non-sociopath would. All you can say is THEY THE BEST AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU JUST A HATER. If LeBatard had simply done that, his article would be unexceptional.

Instead, he put Luther Campbell, the Hurricanes, Supreme Court cases, and LeBron James into his op-ed gumbo, hoping it would come out nice and spicy-like. Nice try, but it wound up a pretty unappealing mix. Still mixed better than anything Campbell’s ever done, though.

LeBron to Cleveland: Drop Dead

lebronnyy.jpgNow that I’ve made my decision to go to the Miami Heat, I have a special message for my fans back in Cleveland: I hate you, every last one of you. Your town was like a noose around my neck, and you and your stupid love and admiration was the tightest loop of all.

How much do I hate you? I strung you along for weeks, letting you think the Cavs were still in the running for my services. I scheduled an hour-long TV special about my decision, to make everyone think “there’s no way he’d do something like that and rip Cleveland’s heart out”. And that’s exactly what I did. Oh man, that was sweet!

Did you think I was actually going to stay? Jesus, are all of you that stupid?! I’ve been counting down the seconds to free agency since the day I was drafted. I’ve been bigger than that town since the day I was born. I said was a Cowboys fan. A Cowboys fan! I wore a fucking Yankees hat to an Indians playoff game against the Yankees. How could I have made my contempt for you dumbasses more obvious, without literally shitting on every single on of you?

You know why I disappeared in the playoffs this year? Because the thought of winning a championship for you people made me gag.

Am I bigger than Miami? Of course I am. If a better situation than Miami comes along, I’ll opt out of this contract so fast you won’t believe it. But at least Miami won’t give a shit when I do. That’s what makes this deal even better for me: I gave up Cleveland–a city that loves its teams even though they break its heart over and over again–for Miami, one of the worst sports towns in America. Oh, irony, you taste so sweet upon my lips!

God, I feel so free! You can’t imagine what this is like. And you will never know what this is like, because you’ll stay in that horrible town of yours until you drop dead of a heart attack or fall into a burning lake or however it is you people end your miserable lives.

This weekend, I’m off to party in South Beach, another place you’ll never be. I’m going to film this entire party on expensive HD cameras, put the best footage on a DVD, and mail copies to every single one of you. Then, I’m gonna send a guy to each of your houses to force you to watch it at gunpoint.

But first, I have to burn all of my Cleveland clothes, and take a shower to wash the stink of Failure-Town off my body.

LeBron James and the Beginning of the End

lebron.jpgLeBron James’ one-hour ESPN special–THE DECISION–marks a sea change in sports, media, and sports media. And none of these changes are good.

I struggled to think of something snotty or sarcastic to write about this event, but the more I wracked my brain, the more I came back to this simple fact: This is not funny at all. This is deeply, deeply fucked up.

Yes, LeBron is donating advertising proceeds for this thing to The Boys and Girls Clubs (how much of the total proceeds remains to be seen). But that just sugarcoats what this really is: An enormous figure in a certain field buying a glorified infomercial on the number one news outlet for that field. ESPN is supposed to be a news organization, and this pretty much destroys any objectivity and credibility they have.

It’s certainly not the first time ESPN has kowtowed before a huge star in a certain sport. They cover each agonizing Brett Favre retirement saga with unquestioning reverence. Despite whispers that Tiger Woods might not be the best guy in the world, ESPN never had any tough questions for him until his personal problems became un-ignorable.

Such glossing-over and looking the other way is unremarkable in sports media. There’s always been an undercurrent of Hero Worship amongst sports reporters, and most of them would rather keep locker room access than lose it by asking pointed questions. But to actually allow an athlete to, for all intents and purposes, buy time on your network to erect a monument to himself? That brings this to a whole other, creepy level.

LeBron has chosen ESPN to be the stage for this exclusive show, which makes sense, since he’s been their lead story every single day since the NBA Finals ended. But what kind of favor does that buy? What happens when a news network becomes so invested in a certain person that person can not fail and can not be made to look bad? If you took a peek at FOX News between the years of 2000 and 2008, you might have an idea.

And yes, of course, the stakes are much, much lower for anything LeBron will do with his life than the things that FOX News covers on a daily basis. It’s not a perfect analogy, but I think you can see parallels, no?

What is the purpose of this event? The purpose of this event is to be an event. THE DECISION has nothing to do with the NBA, or basketball, or even sports, really. It is just another spectacle in the never-ending summer blockbuster that is LeBron James. He’s not a competitor–he’s a conglomerate. There are many athletes in many sports about whom you could say the same, but LeBron is the ne plus ultra.

There’s always been something unseemly about LeBron James the Public Figure, something unapproachable and removed from mere humanity, right down to his nickname: King James. What is his biggest ad campaign? We Are All Witnesses. There is no interaction between LeBron and the rest of the world. We must simply stand back and watch what he does, because we could never hope to touch his regal garments.

Even when he gets goofy, it’s weirdly insular. Like the ads from a few years ago, where he played different members of a fictional LeBron family. It’s still LeBron playing with himself. Only LeBron is good enough to be with LeBron.

Whoever LeBron signs with, this special will be a celebration of nothing but himself. We’ll get the obligatory soft-focus interview, with softball questions about how tough this all must be for him. Slo-mo shots of LeBron throwing the chalk dust in the air (ironically, in front of adoring crowds he will, in all likelihood, now turn his back on). And then he’ll hand the rose to some lucky team, and ESPN will get to EXCLUSIVELY dissect the move and what it means for the NBA–while never mentioning the fact that the NBA is a joke for allowing this grotesque spectacle to happen.

And for what? So a “legend” can feel more legendary. So a guy who received $90 million from Nike before he bounced a single professional dribble can extend his brand to that 0.0001% portion of the globe that doesn’t know him already. All from an athlete who has said lots of things about marketing over the years (like how he wants to be the world’s first billion dollar athlete), but precious little about winning anything.

This is the worst part of all of this: The sport’s highest-profile player has zero interest in winning anything. The whole point of sports is that everyone playing is trying their best to win. If you don’t have that, what do you have? LeBron is not a basketball player. He’s a multimedia superstar who plays basketball. He would be doing the same thing if he played baseball or lacrosse or was a professional pillow fighter. Winning doesn’t matter to him because in his universe, he has already won.

I don’t care how humble LeBron’s origins are. This is as bad as if Donald Trump bought an hour of prime time to eat diamonds (which I guess is what The Apprentice is, in a way).

THE DECISION gross and decadent and monstrous and just plain wrong. I can imagine ancient Roman gladiators deciding who they would kill in the arena with such trumped up pomp and ceremony. It makes me ashamed to be a sports fan, and a little ashamed to be an American.

This is definitely an Alien vs. Predator situation: No matter who wins, we lose.

Stupid Knows No Holiday

madden_bill.jpgMost of us red-blooded Americans enjoyed a long weekend for the Fourth of July, but Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was hard at work on one of the dumbest, lamest columns I’ve ever read. You may have missed this piece of work as you barbecued or blew your arm off with a mortar, but I caught it.

This is a time of year where we’re supposed to celebrate those who made possible all of our cherished freedoms, but this column almost made me wish we were a little less free. It not only subtracted a few IQ points off of its readers, but it also shaved thinner the dividing line between Sports Nerd and Comic Book Geek.

Recently, I took Madden to task for some remarks he made on WFAN about George Steinbrenner, as he promoted his biography of The Boss. The Daily News article also involved Steinbrenner, but in the dorkiest way possible. In my last post about Madden, I just thought the longtime sportswriter was just being myopic and selective in his memories of the Yankees’ owner. Now I think Madden might be in love with him. Because in Madden’s world, through Steinbrenner, all things are possible.

Here’s the premise of his column, entitled “If Boss Ruled Knicks”: In the alternate universe where George Steinbrenner owns the Knicks, LeBron James would sign with them in a minute, because George Steinbrenner is magical and everything he touches turns to gold.

Why is Madden even contemplating such a fantasy world this weekend? Because as you all know, George Steinbrenner was born on the Fourth of July. You all know this because Steinbrenner himself would be more than happy to drill that fact into your head with all the trumped-up patriotism in which he wrapped his team over the years. (Not so much from his Watergate-related conviction, but then again, what’s more American than illegal campaign contributions?)

It’s not until you get 3/4 of the way through the column that Madden mentions a deal that almost went down in the late 1990s, in which the Yankees, Knicks, and Rangers would’ve been part of one huge Cablevision-owned conglomerate. That fact makes Madden’s fantasia at least plausible. But even if this deal had happened, do you think egos such as Steinbrenner’s and the Dolans’ could’ve coexisted long enough to allow The Boss to still be involved with the Knicks more than a decade later? Of course not. Within 6 months, somebody would’ve dropped out or been murdered.

Marvel Comics used to have a series called What If…?, where various hypotheticals of the Marvel Universe were explored. Madden has basically written that, in one of the largest newspapers in America, about two of the biggest figures in sports. It’s not journalism. It’s not even opinion. It’s fan fiction. If the Daily News is going to publish stuff like this, why don’t they just run short stories written by 15 year olds where Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Jack Skellington?
Continue reading Stupid Knows No Holiday

Negotiations Continue with LeBron’s Jersey

lebronjersey.jpgPHILADELPHIA, PA — LeBron James’ jersey, the most sought after free agent jersey in the National Basketball Association, continues to conduct meetings with interested teams today. The media has descended on Mitchell and Ness headquarters in Pennsylvania as LeBron James’ jersey tries to come to a decision. It is the most highly anticipated free agent jersey signing since Kobe Bryant’s jersey switched its number in 2006.

In the 48 hours since the NBA’s free agent signing period began, LeBron James’ jersey–arguably one of the most famous jerseys in all of sports–has already met with the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, the New York Knicks, and the New Jersey Nets. The Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers will conference with the jersey at some point today.

With all teams expected to offer LeBron James’ jersey the maximum amount allowed by the NBA’s salary cap, other incentives will come into play in the jersey’s decision. The Nets have pitched their red, white, and blue color scheme, while the Heat hope that their wide array of home and away uniform styles will intrigue the jersey.

The Golden State Warriors have not been considered a serious suitor for LeBron James’ jersey as of yet. But some insiders feel that if the team was able to clear some cap room, they could enter the hunt. Golden State could be an interesting destination for LeBron James’ jersey, despite a dearth of on-court talent and a front office in rebuilding mode, because of the team’s array of sweet throwback unis.

“Can you image LeBron James’ jersey in one of those sick ‘The City’ tops from the early 70s?” asked one league GM. “They’d fly off the shelves. It’d make the Warriors unstoppable, from a marketing standpoint.”

Meanwhile, in Beaverton, Oregon, the buzz around LeBron James’ shoes has been far less brisk, but is expected to pick up once LeBron James’ jersey finally comes to a decision.

“Once LeBron James’ jersey signs, I expect to see a scramble for the next tier of free agent merchandise,” guessed another league GM. “LeBron’s shoes, Dwayne Wade’s jersey, and Chris Bosh’s sweatbands would go next, I think. And other teams may hope to avoid this drama next year. I hear the Nuggets are trying to work out an extension with Carmelo Anthony’s sleeve thingy.”