The face. The game. The seven-year NBA career. These things sometimes make you forget that LeBron James is only 25 years old.
And while some of his antics this past year would be considered immature even for a 25-year-old, it’s probably not fair to hold James to the same standard as your average 20-something. When you’re one of the best at what you do there is going to be extra scrutiny and a large number of people who don’t like you. And come Thursday night, the fans of all but one NBA team will have another reason to dislike James, all claiming they were spurned by “The King.”
Thursday is when James will announce which team he’ll be signing with, doing so during a one-hour television special that he is calling “The Decision.” While my eyes are rolling, everyone else’s will be watching ESPN tomorrow night. All eyes on LeBron — just how he wants it.
Some have suggested that James’s free agency circus stems from his decision to skip college and go directly to the NBA. He missed out on the recruiting process then, so he’s making up for it now. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he lined up the hats of the six teams courting him, much like many high school athletes now do when announcing their college choice.
Of course, for the high schoolers, the ordeal ends when they choose a school. We can only hope that James’s “look at me” behavior will end after he announces his decision. And, given his age, it’s reasonable to expect that he will mature in the next few years. (Let’s ignore the fact that Alex Rodriguez will be 35 in a couple of weeks.)
After all, it’s not entirely James’ fault. He sneezes, and every major sports news website has a new headline. Sometimes I wonder whether the interest warrants all the coverage, or if the market is so saturated that people have no choice but to become interested. Regardless, James lives in a world with a 24/7 news cycle where nothing goes unreported.
But he loves it. He craves the attention and tomorrow’s TV event is further proof. Can we all contemplate how absurd this is? I feel like this is a joke that’s coming true: Hey, LeBron should turn his announcement into an hour-long television special! It’s laughable, and only confirms the thoughts of those who feel James’ ego is out of control.
At least the advertising money from the program is going to charity. I’ll consider that James’s first step towards adulthood.