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LeBron James only steals the show if you let him

Jun 3, 2010, 2:02 PM EDT

James_solo.jpgThere’s little doubt that July will belong to LeBron James. Regardless of whether he stays or goes, the endless speculation concerning his future, his decision-making, and his rationale will be put under the world’s largest internet-powered microscope, and every other sports-related topic will be put on the back-burner. That’s just what happens when the biggest name in basketball becomes an unrestricted free agent after promoting the event years in advance.

If James manages to upstage the finals, though, there’s no one to blame but ourselves. Lakers-Celtics seems set to be a truly special series, and while there’s obviously enough online real estate to cover this, that, and all other stories, emphasis is dictated by media members and media consumers. If the idea of LeBron stepping in front of the spotlight is really all that irking, why not exercise the right to just ignore it? Or at least circumvent it?

It’s not as if James holds some magical power over the nation’s attention span. His name in glittering lights piques the interest of the adoring masses, but there’s always a choice. Every time there’s a half-time show on LeBron’s future, the remote is in your hands. Every time there’s a headline about LeBron the free agent, there’s a decision on whether or not to click it. Maybe James is trying to stay on the tip of everyone’s tongue or maybe he’s not, but it doesn’t happen without our consent. It’s me, you, and everyone we know allowing LeBron into our homes, our cable boxes, and our browsers.

For basketball fans, the actual basketball will prevail. The two best teams in the league (and they are just that) with the two best playoff performers are about to slug it out over seven games, and if LeBron is really living in the limelight, it represents our own laziness as much as it does his self-obsession. How is Kevin Garnett going to defend Pau Gasol? Should Kobe Bryant guard Rajon Rondo? Will the Boston bench be able to withstand their toughest competition yet? There are countless stories and angles in this single series, and innumerable items of interest to grab our attention should we allow them to.

I’m not saying that other stories won’t pop up over the course of this series, or that they shouldn’t be given their due. Just that as free-thinking consumers, the point in complaining over what we have the right to choose is useless. Yes, LeBron wants attention; that much has been clear ever since his promotion of 2010 free agency began. I’m sure a lot of NBA players want the same, whether they’re playing in the finals or not.

We control whether he gets that attention, and we control our own response to it. If you don’t care about LeBron’s tell-nothing interviews, then don’t care. If you don’t want to hear about him during the finals, then don’t talk or write about him. And if you’re tired of him craving attention, then stop feeding it to him. LeBron may have the ability to create headlines, but it’s the consumers that determine their prominence and placement. James may be the star, but NBA fans have all the power.  

  1. Durant35 - Jun 3, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Lebron James is bigger than the playoffs yeah i said it come on celtics and lakers is fun and everything but this is Lebron James we talking about a guy that didnt even hit his prime has 2 MVP’s 7 time all star and all NBA first team player for 6 years in a row he is the topic of conversation Lebron has to be the guy every nba team shooting for period.

  2. (Drama)Queen James - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    James is a gutless, heartless prima-dona. He cares more about powder throwing and fake photography than dedicating himself to develop a mid-range and post game. He said as much afer he quit on the Cavs: “My team and I have a gameplan we intend to execute this offseason.” The team he’s speaking of? His marketing people, agents, managers, etc, etc, etc. The guy’s a tool, bring on the Celtics vs the Lakers!

  3. Jimmy - Jun 3, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    Durant35 you’re a fool. He might have 2 MPVs, 7 all-star etc, but how many rings does he have? None. Celtics and Lakers is fun? You must have no idea of the history of the NBA and how big this rivalry is and how many trophies these team bring. Bron is a whiner and a quitter.

  4. Jeffrey - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Who is this LeBron everyone keeps talking about? for real-ish news… HA!

  5. DK Anderson - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    LeBron James obviously deserves all this attention as recognition for his sterling performance in leading his team to yet another NBA Finals.
    Oh, wait…

  6. truthseeker - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    and Le Brawn is going to hold a free agent summit in which he dictates the balance of power in the NBA for the immediate future. He has not proven himself to be an MVP as seen in the playoffs – he is a choker and Kobe is by far the best player in the league right now – and I’m not a Lakers fan. Le Brawn – just become a player.

  7. What the World Has Come To - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    “Ignore LeBron James” says the guy trying to make a name for himself by posting an internet article about LeBron James.

  8. Young Reezey - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    WOW dude… get off his n*ts. MVP this and All Star that – please. He couldn’t even get his team to a single title, couldn’t get Team USA a gold medal (I’m bringin all this up since you’ve obviously promoted him to “that status”)… You know, they don’t call him LeBronze or LeChoke for nothing. Don’t even get me started about him wearing his own MVP shirt…

  9. Mike Mastro - Jun 3, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    before we propose James for immortality shouldn’t he win at least 1 championship? he may just be the most overrated player of all time.
    this kid couldn’t carry Bill Russel’s jock (9 championships)

  10. LeBURN Sucks! - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:03 PM


  11. jdawg - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    Alright dummies you can talk crap all you want say anything to try to make lebron look bad but guess who you will all be watching next season cause he is great I won’t get into the whole who is better bron or kobe but we all know lebron is great and still can get better just like kobe. This finals will be great and this summer will go down as the biggest free agency in history so let them both be what they are, go celtics for this series, go cavs forever, and go lebron we are waiting for what is sure to come.

  12. Mike Mastro - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    exactly what makes LeBron great? the way he disappeared in games 5 and 6 against the Celts or some other quality I’m missing?

  13. spdevo - Jun 3, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    Until he starts winning titles who cares about him. Sure he looks great at times, but the way he played against the Celtics, it looked like he didn’t care. And who can blame him after making all that money without a title. Obviously winning the big one to him has no added benefit, and it shows. Until he has to earn the right to all of his rewards, financial and otherwise, he will end up being one of the biggest busts in NBA history.

  14. Gato - Jun 3, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    2x NBA MVP (1997, 1999)
    13x NBA All-Star (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001)
    11x All-NBA First Team Selection (1989-1999)
    2x All-NBA Second Team Selection (1988, 2000)
    1x All-NBA Third Team Selection (2001)
    3x NBA All-Defensive First Team Selection (1997-1999)
    1x NBA All-Defensive Second Team Selection (1988)
    1986 NBA All-Rookie Team
    2x NBA All-Star MVP (1989, 1993)
    NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team
    Can you guess who??Notice never won a championship AND played with one of the best point guards ever!SO LeBron has a long way to go before being anointed!!(Karl Malone)

  15. Yaron - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:02 AM

    Lebrons style is not great, he might turn into a great player, but Wilkins was a great player too. Powerful dunks and big size do not equal a complete player who dominates a League.
    If it’s a race, Kobe is at mile 24 of the marathon and Lebron is huffing and puffing at mile 6.

  16. ginseng - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:21 AM

    Basketball is a team sport, not an one-man show. Jordan won his six rings when he accepted his role as not always having the ball in his hands, not needing to score 40 points per game, and being part of Phil’s triangle system. Look at what Kobe has done recently by not taking 40 shots a night but sharing the rock with others. Selfish LBJ, who only think of himself, can’t be coached, and rely on his stats (well put Gato on how non-important stats are when it comes to rings ) will never win a championship until he can be a total player.

  17. JD - Jun 4, 2010 at 1:35 AM

    Lebron is indicative of today’s NBA, focused on individual stars. The “King of Regular Season” hasn’t even won any meaningful games (0-4 in their only NBA Finals appearance) plus his tantrums in last year’s defeat against Orlando and this year holding Cleveland hostage…truly selfish. He doesn’t deserve the attention he’s getting. Until he wins a title, Lebron is all hype, “King of Regular Season”.

  18. steve - Jun 4, 2010 at 2:37 AM

    Great article. If Lebron had any class, he would not make any noise and keep his trap shut during the playoffs. He has no business making news, because he isn’t news. This series is going to be great. Go Lakers. Lebron, just go.

  19. Da Real - Jun 4, 2010 at 4:08 AM

    Lebron reminds me of Shaq. Both have unbelievable builds.
    Shaq had a few moves but mostly relied on his body, strength, and surprising athleticism. He didn’t have much game, but he was a super freak physically. He was not a hard worker.
    Lebron has a few more moves but mostly relies on his strength and athleticism. He has good game, but nothing special if you take away his athletic ability. He is a freak physically. He has no killer instinct.

  20. DK - Jun 4, 2010 at 9:04 AM

    …and he never give 100% to his team in a playoff series and was just trying to close the game with free agency in mind! What a joke.

  21. Jeff - Jun 5, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    I tried very hard to avoid all Lebron issues on TV/online ever since the stupid elbow boo-boo like you said, turn off the damn TV or switch channels or what have you….but at this point, with Lebron trying to steal the spotlight from the NBA Finals, ANYTIME i see ANYTHING basketball-related someone says something along the lines of, “in case you are unaware, Lebron is a free agent soon!”
    Disgusting. totally disrespectful to the game, not to mention showing what kind of an insecure, attention skank. How very A-Rod like but EVEN MORE media exposure if you catch my drift. Why this guy feels the need to remind everyone how important he is when he should either be A) dissecting all of Kobe’s moves during the Finals against the C’s or B) work on a low post game or sth else is beyond me.

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