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National Signing Day 2.0: LeBron-a-palooza

Signing Day is an event that sports fans have known for years. We get a chance to see our favorite players sign on the dotted line to play for the institution of their choice. It’s a time-honored tradition in high school football. It’s something that ESPN televises every single year around the beginning of the calendar year. However, leave it to someone who once played football, was an all-state wide receiver in high school, but left for greener pastures and became one of the biggest basketball stars on the planet to flip the script, and turn signing day into something of ridiculous proportions.

This is something that’s been carefully scripted well before July 1st. As a matter of fact, a case can be made that this is something that’s been in the works for years. As my blogging brother-in-crime Mtrible at Sportsmanlike Misconduct says, “Plenty of forces are responsible for this monster that’s been created.” LeBron’s not saying much of anything, but people are mad at him for what’s taking place. Here's the thing: fans can’t have it both ways. We can’t ask “will he live up to the hype?,” but then he does, and now that the stakes are higher, people are tired of him. That’s hypocritical. He's lived up to the hype since he came out of high school, has done tremendous things in the league, so if that means he and his people want the man to have his own signing day, it’s one well-earned.

Besides, I love the idea that this is becoming so major, because let’s face it: he’s the future of the NBA. Sure, you can make the case that there are players you would rather have, but even with that, David Stern has been prepared to give the league to LeBron, and this is yet another example. The league is about stars, and he’s the star right now.

People are saying he’s going to end up in Miami, and if that’s true, two things need to happen. First, there are going to be a busload of people who owe Stephen A. Smith an apology, because he called it well over a week ago. Secondly, it shows something that I have secretly hoped for, but didn’t think these young guys would do, and that’s realize how much power they have, and use it to turn the NBA on its head. People don’t like the idea of these cats playing together, but I love it. For starters, they’re taking what Boston did, and attempting to establish dominance earlier. Now I don’t see instant championship with this squad, because what Boston did won’t be seen again for quite some time, based on the fact that team played with a sense of desperation and pride that I don’t think Miami can replicate, no matter how hard they try.

However, Boston’s team came from circumstance. Paul Pierce was already there, and then Boston was able to get Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Those three guys were already established, and the goal was solely a championship. They didn’t control their fate, though. These players have, and if they do end up together, it throws a kink into the power structure that we’re used to seeing in the NBA. Showtime 2.0 will officially be born.

But there still is a possibility he’ll stay in Cleveland. If so, that would probably come with the least amount of backlash, simply because it will show people he is willing to try as hard as he can to win a title with the only team he’s ever known. On top of that, if LeBron does decide to stay, Cleveland would still be better than Chicago (who they smashed in the playoffs last year), Atlanta, and maybe even Miami, despite the addition of Bosh. All the other destinations don’t matter, and if there are other hats on the table, they will be there for show, and nothing else.

For people who survived countless summers past of Favre-a-palooza, Kobe antics (he did similar stuff that LeBron is doing, when he opted out of his contract in 2004, if not worse), and other buffoonery, this is something worth looking forward to. Sure, it reeks of vanity, and even the most loyal LeBron supporters can admit that, but we, along with people who are sick of the man, will all be tuned in. When he gets to that table and all those caps are in front of us, we’ll finally know which one it’s going to be. Once it happens, the most maddening free agency period in our lifetime will reach its climax. A few years ago, Nike said we are all witnesses, and this is just another reason why that slogan was much more than we ever thought it would be.


Be easy.
-K. Masenda
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!


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