JEFF PEARLMAN

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LeEgo James and a made-for-TV moment

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I’ve never much minded LeBron James. He comes across as a relatively OK guy. Nothing thrilling, nothing horrific. Just fine and OK, which is, in and of itself, fine and OK.

Then today happened.

Today, LeBron James introduced himself to the world as an egomaniac. Actually, capitalize that: an Egomaniac. He will grace the world with his big decision (and I’m not referring to bacon or sausage) on a Thursday night one-hour ESPN special titled, “The Decision.” The whole thing was apparently hatched by LeBron and his people, which means LeBron—if he’s not entirely to blame—should fire his people. Now. Immediately. As in, this second.

What this show announces, even before it actually announces anything, is that LeBron James possesses an ego the size of John Candy’s long-deceased buttocks. It’s actually unfathomable in its arrogance. Really, LeBron? This is how you want the world to view you? As the sort of person who desires his own TV show to announce where he’ll play basketball? Really?

For those of you keeping score at home, the scorecard for the NBA’s best player reads thusly:

Kobe Bryant: 5

LeBron James: 0

Say what you want about Kobe—he cheated on his wife; he abuses teammates; he’s a ball hog—the guy wins. And wins. And wins. He shows up in crunch time, and he always seems to make his teammates significantly better (Even Adam Morrison looked OK in his suit standing alongside Kobe). LeBron, meanwhile, is a spectacular talent who can score, penetrate, shoot, play D and hustle. Can he win? Not sure. The answer remains out there.

In other words, Kobe has earned a status LeBron seems to believe is already his. As far as I’m concerned, Kobe Bryant can have 8,000 TV shows. Hell, he can host a cooking show from my kitchen if he’d like. That sort of great honor (Cooking at Jeffie’s Crib!) comes with winning.

And one more thing: Let’s slow down and think about this. Who cares? Really, who does? I get the buzz and the excitement. But once the season starts, and we’re in game, oh, 39 against Golden State, does hype equal reality? Is LeBron’s whereabouts that big of a deal, or are we merely incredibly bored?