Saturday, October 2, 2010
The Brat Pack
It's beautiful day in the virtual neighborhood readers and do you know why? Because it's another daily dose from yours truly :-). Jokes aside, today we're talking about a precocious young man that has caused mass hysteria among the public that has not been seen since the Beatles. Any idea who I'm talking about? It's Lebron James, better known to you mere mortals as King James. It seems the King has made some iffy decisions in the eyes, particularly the lauded "The Decision." Pretty much had cats straight burning his jersey in Cleveland while shouting Fuck You Lebron in the same process. Then recently while talking to Soledad O'Brien, he decides to play "The Race Card", citing that as a reason for some of his backlash. Oh boy, a clusterfuck at it's finest. But I found myself asking, is he really to blame for all this or a product of society creating this entity?
There are some great articles out now on the recent snafu with James, his advisors, and the race card thing. Jason Whitlock. JA Adande. Bill Simmons. Mike Freeman. Great articles about Mr James incorrectly playing the race card in this situation. I agree mostly with them but I found myself wondering were we as society guilty in part of James' decision. And before you say hell no, hear me out....
Peep out my Generation Y post first before reading any further. Now back to this. When was the first time you heard about Lebron James? If you are a hoops junkie, you first heard about Lebron when he was 15 years old. This kid from Ohio that was tearing up the AAU and summer camp league circuits. His "legend" grows as more and more media outlets start discussing how great he was going to be. And then icing on the cake, came when he was 16 years old and his face graces the cover of Sports Illustrated. Sixteen years old. Sports Illustrated. You don't think his head was gassed then? Add in NBA General Managers saying they would take James #1 in the draft if he came out then and bam Lebronmania begins.
From that point, his popularity soared. To when he entered the draft to when he dropped 25 in a row against Detroit to his mano a mano duel with Paul Pierce to the Finals appearance to his daily Sportscenter highlights to the MVP trophies to now the Decision. Whatever he did, the media was at his doorstep, making sure to glorify the greatness of Lebron James. Hell he even had a documentary made with his homies documenting his high school years. And yet folks are wondering why Lebron doesn't get it. Are you shitting me?
He doesn't get it because he's a product of a manufacturing farm called exploitation. We were quick to jump on the bandwagon and exploit him for his "gift", making sure everyone knew who he was, what he was doing, and how great he would become. For half his life, he's been told he's the Chosen One and he soaked it up. I don't know about you but if I grew up like and folks were pumping me up left and right, I'd be juiced. I just think it's funny now that some of the same folks who kissed his ass are not ready to throw rocks at him because he didn't continue to walk on the same path that society hand crafted for him.
Don't get me wrong, I think Lebron's way about leaving Cleveland was stupid. But look at who decided to even agree to that shit. The race card play was a bad one too and Freeman does a great job of questioning why race now when you've never been a socially conscious dude in public prior. But again, who decided to even let him air that. You can't be mad at the monster you created folks is what I'm saying. You tired of kids being spoiled and what not. Then stop contributing to the madness. In the case of sports, we now show high school games on tv, dedicate entire days to kids announcing their college decisions, create manufactured shows to "follow" kids' lives, and then expect them to follow our rules.
Don't be mad when the dog you trained or tried to train for years bites you on the hand. In the era where we create fake reality shows are you really that shocked by Lebron's actions? I think some of us need to get off that high horse and start living in a real reality. Don't be mad when the next person you anoint as royalty doesn't follow your plan.