July 09, 2010

Bad Decision

I'm sure it'll get good ratings, but ESPN's "The Decision" special tonight was one of the network's all-time lower moments. As great as "30 For 30" is, consider this the exact opposite.

There was the first 20 minutes, a hodgepodge of highlights packages and in-studio debate that was totally indistinguishable from anything ESPN has run on its air in the last three weeks. "LeBron's decision is next- but first! More highlights! Then we'll ask our panel of experts for predictions! Then that map showing which states though he'd sign with which team!" Didn't ESPN promise the decision would come in the first ten minutes?

There was Jim Gray's embarrassing questions, in which the only question anyone cared about- "which team are you signing with?"- was about the 10th asked.

This was not a news event, and the participants were not journalists. It was what Daniel Boorstin would've called a pseudo-event. And I still don't know why they had it in Greenwich, Conn.

And of course, there was the shocking cruelty in which LeBron James essentially took out a national TV ad to break up with Cleveland, the metro area where he grew up and in which he played his entire career. It's hard to blame Dan Gilbert, for the most entertaining non-Mark Cuban owner missive in league history.

I'm trying to imagine how much I, as a Twins fan, would hate Joe Mauer if he hadn't signed the extension, reached free agency, dragged the process out for months, and then held a nationally televised prime time special in which he announced he was signing with the Yankees.

A few more notes on the debacle:

- I really feel bad for Cleveland, which truly has suffered more than any other sports city in the past five decades, and it's not close. I wouldn't have blamed the fans if they tore down LeBron's billboard, Saddam Square-style.

- I still can't believe LeBron referred to his new team as "South Beach."

- Yes, we must give Stephen A. Smith credit for breaking the story almost a month ago that LeBron, Wade and Bosh were all going to Miami. A little bit of redemption for possibly the nation's most hated sports media figure. Meanwhile, Chris Broussard essentially had Miami as the destination yesterday, but was forced- by forces on high, I'm guessing- to use the "signs point to" caveat.

- With the signing, the Heat now have a whopping four players under contract for next season! Better get cracking on filling out that roster.

- That's because they essentially gave away Michael Beasley to the Wolves tonight for a second-round pick. Beasley's had his troubles i the league, but it's still always a good thing to get the 2nd overall draft pick from only two years ago, essentially for free; now Darko's not even the best former #2 on the roster.

- Will the Miami All-Star team work? Who knows? I won't be surprised, though, if James and Wade fall out and one of them is traded in two or three years.

- LIke my friend Aaron Gleeman said on Twitter, if he's an Ohio native who's a Yankees and Cowboys fan, you probably couldn't count on his loyalty to the region.

- I don't want to hear it, Knicks fans. You didn't "lose" LeBron. In fact, you never had him. And thanks to the wonderful leadership of the Dolans, I'm sure you never will.

Posted by Stephen Silver at July 9, 2010 02:34 AM
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