Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The pinnacle of the sensationalizing of sports

Just got back from the Big Island of Hawaii.

It may be the only place in the world where LeBron James wasn’t visiting last week, though my teenage son swears he saw Terrell Owens driving a red Mustang convertible in Waikoloa.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. in Hawaii to watch a World Cup soccer match between Argentina and Germany. More guys took dives than scored goals. It’s like whenever a soccer player in the World Cup makes body contact with an opposing team, he reacts as if he’s been hit by a Toyota without brakes.

It was in paradise that I came to this conclusion. The sensationalizing of sports has reached its pinnacle, whether it’s a soccer player flopping or NBA free agency news non-stopping.

I mean I can’t tell the difference between Entertainment Tonight and ESPN anymore. Breaking news. Gushing anchors. Exclusive exclusives.

As you know, LeBron the King of the World is going to make his exclusive long-awaited announcement on ESPN Thursday night after seemingly making more visits than Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. I’m sure Shelley Smith is going to be there, standing outside the studio as LeBron drives in, giving us the play-by-play of the wheels of his SUV going round and round. ESPN lens will show us a close-up of LeBron through two or three windows crossing the hallway with an entourage of people who are there simply to suck up to him like a vacuum cleaner on a carpet of marbles.

The Beatles-like tour of LeBron will end in in of all places Greenwich, Connecticut. Greenwich? Is LeBron going to launch a new Subway sandwich and call it a Greenwich? Or Green Rich?

This is how stupid and ridiculous the LeBron Free Agent Tour has gotten. The other day on ESPN, news scrolled across the bottom of the TV screen announcing that LeBron planned to “visit Cleveland.”

Visit Cleveland?! He’s played there for the past eight years and lived in Ohio all his life! The King Visits Cleveland? That’s like saying Santa Claus visits the North Pole.

Last week I drove all the way to Hilo to see a natural phenomenon. Lava exploding on a ridge, so bright it cast an orange glow on the clouds above.

Then I came back to the condo and saw LeBron on TV. ESPN was watching his every move as if he is a natural phenomenon.

Well, the volcano of hype and anticipation is going to erupt on Thursday night in prime time when LeBron announces to the world what his next move is going to be. Miami? Chicago? New York? New Jersey? Los Angeles? The Freaking Moon?

I hope he decides to go back to Cleveland. Otherwise, he’ll wind up with his multi-million dollar buddies in Miami or Chicago or New York trying to stack a roster to jump start the LeBron Championship Tour.

Then what will the King say of his stay in Cleveland?

Just visiting.


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