Tuesday, November 10, 2009

14 comments Jay Mariotti Continues To Not Be A Good Sportswriter

Jay Mariotti generally writes two different types of articles. He writes an article incredibly critical of someone or something that usually has a title that looks like, "LaGarrett Blount Should Be Given Death Penalty For Punch That Ends Civilization As We Know It." Mariotti will also write articles that make blanket statement which doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense such as, "For Alex Rodriguez to Help Fans Forget Steroid Scandal He Must Win 4 World Series in a Row." Today Mariotti is writing a blanket statement column.

"To Elevate His Legacy, LBJ Must Do NYC." That's the title of Jay's latest masterdisasterpiece. Otherwise if LeBron didn't play in New York for the Knicks, LeBron James would just be a forgettable half-ass nobody for the rest of his career in Mariotti's eyes. I'm not disagreeing that James' profile could somehow increase if he played in New York, because that could very well happen, but there is a difference in hype and reality. The lights of New York would hype LeBron James more, but I don't think it would elevate his legacy to the point he should base his decision on this.

First off, the Knicks fans in the photo above the article are holding up some ghetto-ass LeBron James Knicks jerseys. Come on, if that's all Knicks fans have, they need to do better than that. It took maybe 1 minute to cut out an orange #23 out of construction paper and tape it on a New York Knicks jersey. I don't care how "real" it looks compared to the real Knicks uniforms. If you want LeBron, you have to make a fake LeBron "Knicks" jersey that looks somewhat real. It looks like a bad representation of a Charlotte Bobcats jersey. It's not horrible, I just expect more.

Take Friday night in the big city. With the lingering euphoria of the Yankees' victory parade mixing sweetly with Jay-Z's parochial anthem, "Empire State of Mind,'' the Garden was a LeBron love-in.

They are obviously recruiting LeBron James to play for the Knicks. No matter how much entertainment they provide, LeBron's legacy won't improve just because Jay-Z is playing over the Madison Square Garden loudspeakers. Besides Jay-Z has more of an affiliation with the New Jersey Nets now so him being there isn't really recruiting LeBron to play for the Knicks.

Over here, Chris Rock. Over there, Spike Lee and John Legend.

Spike Lee is at every single Knicks game, as is Chris Rock. I don't know about John Legend because I don't really care about him, but I am assuming this isn't his first Knicks game. If you are going to talk about the special things the Knicks did for LeBron when he was in town with the Cavs don't mention two celebrities who are nearly at every single Knicks game.

All over the place, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, Joba Chamberlain and A-Rod in his black gangster hat.

This may be the first time any Yankees players have attended a Knicks game. I am sure it has everything to do with LeBron and has nothing to do with the fact these guys just won the World Series and want to be seen in public. Come on, it's New York, it's not like there aren't celebrities everywhere anyway. We don't need a list. These celebrities were in town to see LeBron, not to woo him.

Not to knock the good people of Cleveland, but when Drew Carey shows up at Quicken Loans Arena, he doesn't offer quite the same sizzle and vibe.

I am 75% sure Jay-Z has shown up at a Cavs game or two, not to mention if there is any team Jay-Z wants LeBron to play for it is the Nets team he has a minor share in. Usher is a minority owner in Cleveland if I am not wrong, so they do have one celebrity. Point made by Mariotti, but I am just saying.

Also, none of this has to do with LeBron's legacy being heightened in any fashion nor does it have anything to do with why LeBron playing in New York for the Knicks is a good idea.

And the fans? They just stared at James, mesmerized, oohing when he dunked, ahhing when he hit jumpers,

The Knicks fans have been subjected to too many years of Isiah Thomas running the team into the ground, at this point, any time a competent basketball player shows up in Madison Square Garden, the fans are going to be in awe of that player.

exploding when he drained a long three-pointer as the 24-second buzzer sounded, grumbling when he blocked a David Lee shot and was called for goaltending, turning it into a LeBron home game and Knicks away game.

So because the fans like LeBron James a lot, he should choose to go to the Knicks. Nearly every fan in every city likes to watch LeBron James play and probably secretly/not-so-secretly cheer for him to do well against their team so they can witness it. It's not like the Knicks fans are the only fan base that has a yearning for LeBron to play for their team.

"I don't know who made the schedule for the Cleveland Cavaliers to only be here once. I'm kind of disappointed in that," said James,

LeBron James really doesn't know who made the schedule for the Cavaliers games? I wonder who he thinks made the schedule? Would anyone but the NBA have made the schedule? Maybe LeBron was just kidding when he said this or he didn't know EXACTLY who made the Cavs schedule.

who never has disguised his love for all things New York and a building he describes as "the mecca'' of basketball.

If LeBron James liked Madison Square Garden so much he should have gone to college in the Big East or at St. John's. That was an option, but just like how LeBron James didn't plan his college decision on whether he could play in Madison Square Garden, he may not necessarily choose his next NBA team based on how much he likes it either. Just a thought.

So tell me: Why wouldn't LeBron want to do 41 such Gotham galas a season, rather than one?

Because if he did it 41 times a year it would become routine and him playing in Madison Square Garden would no longer be special for him. I think that would be a good reason to not play in New York (other than the fact the team stinks and doesn't look like it will get too much better in the near future) and in Madison Square Garden 41 times per year.

If they rose and politely gave him a respectful ovation when he hit another three at the first-quarter buzzer, giving him 19 points and five assists in the first 12 minutes, imagine the reverence if he actually played here.

I love how Jay Mariotti is pretending that New York crowds treat their hero athletes with deference and respect. It takes about 5 seconds for any crowd in New York to start booing an athlete or team when he/they make even the smallest screw up. What would make LeBron James any different? They would expect him to be God and when he isn't they would turn on him. Of course when he is great, they would treat him well, but New York isn't too keen on failure and every NBA player fails at some point. Reverence isn't the most common quality in New York crowds.

Since Mariotti is too busy killing time to think about this, let's do a partial list of players who whose legacy was not hurt, and they probably achieved their peak legacy playing in another city, by never playing for the Knicks (I say partial because this list could have hundreds of players on it). Meaning these players have a great legacy and playing in New York probably would not have enhanced it:

Michael Jordan
Kobe Bryant
Larry Bird
Magic Johnson
Shaquille O'Neal
Charles Barkley
Steve Nash...

You know what, I just got bored with this. I could list of hundreds of players who did not have their legacy hurt (nor would it have been enhanced necessarily by playing in New York) by the fact they never played in New York. The problem is that LeBron James is probably going to be considered one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, if not the best, when he retires, so what is there really to enhance as far as his legacy? It's not like he is Patrick Ewing who was an excellent center who had his reputation enhanced even further from the overabundance of media coverage in New York. LeBron is widely considered the best player in the NBA right now and over time he his legacy will only grow to put him in the Top 3 NBA players of all-time. What's the purpose of worrying about a legacy for LeBron?

It's not like he is Scottie Pippen and is playing in the shadow of a superstar and needs his own team to show his worth.

James said diplomatically. "So that's the main thing that I'm focused on now. It's the first time I'll be in this position, being an unrestricted free agent. There's no timetable. I'm not going to rush it, I'm definitely going to stay in shape and stay in the gym next summer like I've always done and we'll see what happens."

Personally, I feel like LeBron is gone from Cleveland this summer. I don't see him playing for the Cavs after this year. I just don't think the Knicks are the best spot for him and I certainly don't think it would enhance his reputation playing there. Playing or coaching in New York has a habit of either ruining a player's reputation (Randy Johnson, Isiah Thomas) or enhancing a player's reputation to the point no person in the city thinks he is fallible (Derek Jeter) and that last scenario rarely happens in New York. Not to mention I don't know why LeBron would want to go to New York and essentially start over with a team that is similar to what the Cavs had when he arrived in Cleveland seven years ago. Why would he want to go to another team in the process of rebuilding?

Oh, location matters. The biggest stars want to thrive on the grandest stages, whether it's U2, Beyonce or LBJ.

Can we not call him LBJ? In my nerd head that stands for Lyndon B. Johnson. He can't steal LBJ's moniker, that's just not right.

Oh, location matters. The biggest stars want to thrive on the grandest stages, whether it's U2, Beyonce or LBJ.

This is actually a decent point, but LeBron needs to choose his next team, not just the new town where he can market himself. It's true he makes more money off marketing himself than basketball, but without basketball all that other stuff goes away. Mariotti still hasn't gotten to the main point of his argument, that playing in New York would enhance LeBron James' legacy and why he believes it to be true. Sure LeBron wants to be on the biggest stage but he can find a team who would be a perennial NBA Finals contender and where he could become as big, if not bigger, than Kobe and Michael Jordan without going to New York.

It's not like there is only one big market in the NBA.

There's a reason why a seeker such as Alex Rodriguez maneuvered his way to Yankee Stadium.

Because the trade to the Red Sox was originally thrown out by the player's union and the Yankees were the only other team willing to take on his salary and trade the necessary players for A-Rod? Horrible, horrible example by Jay Mariotti. Playing in New York had actually nearly ruined A-Rod's reputation prior to the playoffs this year. If Jay is trying to prove a point, he picked the exact wrong person to cite to help prove his example.

A-Rod is a cheating, steroid using, playoff choking, non-clutch hitter in the eyes of many because of his time spent with the Yankees and he didn't even go to New York for the spotlight, but instead was traded there because they were the only team other than Boston that wanted him. I am sure part of him may have wanted to play in pinstripes, but Boston was his original first choice.

He wouldn't make much more money in New York than he would in Cleveland, not when television, Internet and marketing technology allows megastars to achieve global wealth and fame regardless of where they play.

I am still looking for good proof of this "legacy elevation" claim.

As it is, James ranks sixth on Forbes magazine's list of the richest athletes at $40 million in salary and endorsements. As it is, he has hosted "Saturday Night Live'' and starred in too many TV commercials to count. How much bigger and richer can he get? That isn't the point.

So Mariotti thinks the New York Knicks are the place to go for LeBron to win a bunch of NBA Titles? Because take away the lure of more money or more fame, there is really only more basketball achievement left over.

Winning a title with the Cavaliers would be a rousing emotional triumph for James, who has suffered with the rest of the region through some of sport's worst futility periods. But it wouldn't bring the highest of highs, the massive historical imprint, the feeling that every home game is a masterpiece event. He must go to New York for that.

I guess I am naive in not believing this to be true. I don't think an NBA Title would mean more in New York than in Cleveland. I think Mariotti and some of the other media believes this to be true because they consider to be New York to be a mecca and believe anything that happens in that city takes on more significance. I think New York is a bad landing spot for LeBron for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are:

-There are the highest of highs in New York, but there is also the lowest of lows.

-The Knicks are no closer to winning an NBA Title than the Cavs.

-Is Mike D'Antoni's offense the best offense for LeBron? (Of course LeBron could get D'Antoni fired and after playing for Mike Brown it may seem like a vacation to play for D'Antoni)

-Everything is magnified in New York and if he is truly worried about his legacy, that's not always a good thing for everything to be magnified.

-He is such a great basketball player he doesn't need to play in New York to have a memorable and great NBA legacy.

he's going to New York but signing with the Nets, with whom Jay-Z is a minority partner under the prospective new owner, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov;

I believe this is a good option for LeBron because he is playing near to New York, but can avoid some of the spotlight of playing there 41 nights a year, there is a good base of players on that team so I would think they could immediately compete in the East, and the new owner is going to look to make a splash and what better way to do it than sign the best basketball player available? I don't necessarily want him to go to New Jersey but I think it makes sense for a variety of reasons. He could even become famous by beating up on the Knicks like Michael Jordan did.

To hear LeBron, he has pondered every NBA possibility, though I'm having trouble picturing him in Salt Lake City,

Yes, why would LeBron want to play for a team who has a proven, successful head coach who runs a proven, successful system with a Top 5 point guard? Ok, I know all the other reasons, but would Utah really be that bad for him in regard to having basketball success? Now THAT crowd would worship him.

Seriously, his biggest goal is to become the wealthiest athlete in the world. That can be accomplished in Cleveland, numerically speaking, but any perception of James' pre-eminence -- whether he can enter Jordan and Tiger Woods territory -- would be fueled by playing in New York.

That makes sense since Michael Jordan never played in New York and Tiger Woods has no ties to New York in regard to where he resides or has ever lived.

Did general manager Danny Ferry consider chemistry when he added Shaq to the mix?

No. He saw the name "Shaquille O'Neal" and traded accordingly.

And why does coach Mike Brown, whose employment depends on making this work, insist on playing the 7-1, 340-pound, 37-year-old O'Neal together with the 7-3, 270-pound, 34-year-old Zydrunas Ilgauskas?

Because he isn't the smartest coach in the NBA? He has given up and just wants to get fired before LeBron has him fired?

Yet signing with the horrendous Knicks may not guarantee him anything but a one-man rock show, at least for a few years.

I like it when Mariotti the Moron undermines his own point. So playing in New York would not allow LeBron to play on a better team and it wouldn't necessarily help him make more money? So where does Mariotti's argument make sense for LeBron to go play there again?

The league needs the Knicks to be a hot, vibrant franchise, not the controversy-stained corpse it has been for years under misfit owner James Dolan.

I despise arguments like this in any sport. Though they may be true, it still makes up upset that a sport is better off with certain teams doing well and other teams not doing as well. If the media would hype up other teams then maybe this perception would change, but it won't happen. I think it just pertains to the fact the media is lazy and doesn't want to cover teams outside of their area so they overcover teams in their area who make it to championship games (in any sport) and then don't cover teams as much who aren't in the area when they make a championship...creating the impression it is better for the sport when a certain team makes a championship game because more media coverage is provided and the general public gets more excited (therefore viewership of said championship is higher) because the game is hyped in the media more.

That's my conspiracy theory...or it could have something to do with tradition in the given sport and how one team may have a larger fan base. I like my theory better.

Problem is, what would be his supporting cast? General manager Donnie Walsh has been slashing bad contracts to create cap room for James, but beyond Lee and Danilo Gallinari, what would he have to entice LeBron?

I'm sorry, is Jay Mariotti supposed to be arguing FOR LeBron playing with the Knicks or AGAINST it? It seems like he is arguing for LeBron to play for the Knicks but he is doing a hell of a job arguing against it.

And with the salary cap expected to drop $10 million to $50 million, forget about a double whammy of, say, LeBron and Chris Bosh.

Unless LeBron wanted his legacy to be that he gave up money to win NBA Titles. That's pretty much the test I see for him this summer. Does LeBron want to be famous and wealthy or does he want to win NBA Titles. For me, the choice of playing for the Knicks tells me LeBron doesn't care as much about winning NBA Titles.

Would LeBron want to be any part of such a farce? It makes much more basketball sense to hook on with the Nets, who have a workable nucleus of Devin Harris and big man Brook Lopez.

While the entire purpose of Jay Mariotti's entire article has been that LeBron James needs to play for the New York Knicks, Mariotti has pretty much just done his best to rule out the Knicks. This is rambling, incoherent journalism at it's worst.

Sadly I agree with Mariotti when he says the Nets may be a good landing spot for LeBron...he also forgot how the Nets have great role players like Terrence Williams and Courtney Lee. I know no one wants to hear this but you could also see LeBron on the Celtics if they could clear enough room by getting rid of Ray Allen. It won't happen though. My point is that the Knicks are not the place for LeBron and this mess of an article seems to agree with me.

Next summer, he will make one of the most awaited decisions in the history of sports. He is the King, and the Garden needs a savior. It's the move his legacy demands.

Jay Mariotti clings to this premise despite the fact he says himself the Knicks aren't closer to winning an NBA title, they don't have enough cap room to put good players around LeBron, he won't make more money playing in New York and the head coach's system hasn't worked for the players. So why does LeBron need to go to New York to improve his legacy? I guess Mariotti's answer is "just because" because he didn't present any real good reasoning other than that.

My bottom line is that LeBron James doesn't need to go to play for the New York Knicks to enhance his legacy, his legacy is going to be taken care of no matter where he plays if he continues to play as well as he has over the past 7 years for the rest of his career. I realize New York is the media capital of America, if not the world, but I have a hard time buying the argument playing there will automatically elevate LeBron's legacy any more than it already seems primed to be elevated.

-This column is not a poorly written article but the author says that LeBron James could end up with Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles with the Lakers. Having Kobe and LeBron on the same team would not work for such a variety of reasons, the least of which is that both players are alpha dog players who wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. I would actually want this to happen so I could see the brawl at the end of the game to see who gets to take the last shot.

14 comments:

Martin said...

I would go so far as saying Jay thinks that playing a normal home game in the Garden is more important then winning a championship with the Cavs. As i read that sentence, I thought he was saying "Sure, you could win a chapionship with the Cavs, but that doesn't compare to playing 41 home games a year in AwesomeFantasticalMagicalUberifical New York." I thought that because that's the kind of lame ass thing Jay would say, even if I'm wrong.

While you are against the League needs the fill in the blank team to be good idea, I sort of support it. I support it in that you need a mix of teams with history mixed in with new teams for the best excitement to be generated about a league/playoffs. It's fine to have the Hawks and Magic and Hornets and Clippers to be relevant, but you don't want them dominating the headlines of your sport. Nationally people just don't know or care about them to much of an extent. Let them become the Spurs and do it for 15 years and it's a little different, but even then, while respected, the Spurs aren't an audience grabber. Leagues need a tent pole franchise or two to be successful to pull in the average fan, along with what is usually a somewhat national fan base. What they don't need is self-important blowhards stating that THEIR franchise is the one.

Seriously, the Knicks have been crap, or at least mediocre, for more of my basketball watching life then they have been good. They have only had 14 winning seasons in the last 30 years. If nothing else this indicates that the NBA has absolutely zero need in the Knicks being a vibrant and successful franchise. What it did have was the combination of Knicks, Lakers, Bulls and Celtics being successful. A combination of a couple of these tent pole teams is far more important then having one of them, any of them, being successful on their own. So no Jay, the League doesn't need the Knicks to be good for the League to be a success, in fact the worse they are, the better off it might be. This way they don't take up the space of an emerging market, and they keep the NBA in teh news by their terrible moves and losing ways.

Bengoodfella said...

I think playing in MSG is an exciting event but I don't think it is better than winning a championship with the Cavs. I would agree I think Jay believes this. I am not going to knock MSG but I am with you in that I bet he thinks one game in MSG is better than a championship anywhere.

I am not against the idea that X team needs to be good for the league, but I don't like it when the media perpetuates the idea. I like a good mix of teams to be good at the same time, but I also like to see historically good franchises with a history go up against each other.

I am commenting that the reason no one knows the minor teams like the Hawks, Magic or Hornets is because they don't get as much media coverage because they aren't located in a media capital. So you are right that nobody nationally knows them, but that is primarily because the media can't/won't cover them to the extent they cover a team in a major city...which does make sense I admit. I don't see why the NY media would cover Oklahoma City as much as they cover the Knicks, but I don't think the league needs the Knicks to be good. They need them to be competent and at least be in the hunt for a playoff spot every year. I think the league needs them to be relevant, not necessarily the best team in the NBA.

The Spurs are a great example. If they were located in a major city they would be the most favoritist team in the NBA for the media, but because they are located in San Antonio they are considered boring. Of course the fact Tim Duncan is boring has something to do with it also.

I guess your last paragraph is what I am arguing. You don't need the Knicks to be a championship contender, you just need other teams in major markets to be up there as well...and LeBron could think about signing with any of them, it doesn't have to be the Knicks.

I like your last paragraph and I think that is what I was trying to say and is my stance. The NBA can survive without the Knicks being good, but other major cities have to have good teams as well for the sake of interest...but the Knicks don't have to be good, just relevant in some fashion.

Go said...

I agree with you Ben. It seems that in the last decade the media has been labeling small market teams as boring and bad for the sport.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't remember the media saying that having the Royals vs. Cardinals in the '85 World Series was a bad thing for baseball? It was a tremendous series. Same with Minnesota vs. Atlanta in 1991 If the media put as much effort in covering every great team, as they do with the Eastern ones, the competetion would sell itself. By labeling small market teams as boring, they are hurting the sport just the same.
As a sports fan why should I care about television ratings? I care about the competetion of the sport not about watching a team with more fans, attending celebrities, and the location of the teams.
Sure casual fans may enjoy watching Jay-Z being interviewed at a Knicks game, but for the most part, hardcore fans find it annoying and are turned off by these things. Just my two cents.

Bengoodfella said...

Small market teams definitely don't get the ratings and the interest from the bigger cities that large market teams seem to get. I can understand how some people may think this is bad for said sport, but I personally could really care less. As long as big market teams are relevant, I don't think it makes a huge difference.

Good competition is good for the sport and those two series are two of the most memorable of the last 20 years. I understand that outlets in New York aren't going to get in a tizzy about a World Series that features the Philadelphia Phillies and the Texas Rangers, but I do believe it is wrong to say that the World Series is boring or uninteresting because of that. I guess that is what I was speaking out a little bit about...how the same people who complain a game or series is not interesting are the same ones who can hype up a series or game and make it interesting.

All of a sudden a NFC Championship Game between Minnesota and New Orleans is a ratings dynamo while a Western Conference Final in the NBA between New Orleans and Minnesota would be seen as boring. The difference is that the media loves Brett Favre and Drew Brees so they care to hype the game up enough for people to watch...while they don't care to hype up a potential Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio (if he plays for the T-wolves) matchup.

I think it is good for big city teams to be relevant, but I don't think it is necessary for them to be in every major sports championship game. So I also don't believe LeBron has to go to the Knicks to enhance his legacy. My point is that in many ways the same people who are complaining the games are boring also in many ways control what the viewing public watches. Like it or not, if the media tells us to watch something and drums up enough interest, we watch.

I don't need all the glamour either, but the casual fan may need that. I just don't think by avoiding New York LeBron will never reach his peak legacy. There are tons of players with a great legacy who never played in New York.

Martin said...

Aye, relevance is teh key. Once a small market team has been relevant for awhile, unlike the Hawks or Clippers, then the media begins to throw them a bone once in awhile. If the small market team catches their attention, like the Trail Blazers, the coverage is better, and you can just see that they are waiting for the team to make a break through so they can slobber all over them.

I think one of the things that hurt the Rays-Phillies World Series was that the Rays were from the AL East. It's teh glamour boy division for the media with Boston and New York being in it, but it neither wants nor cares about any of the teams in the division. If Tampa had been from a different division, I think ratings would have been higher and stories done better. Instead we had a lot of disgruntled folk who weren't getting to watch the Yankees or Red Sox because of the Rays.

RuleBook said...

Just for everyone's contradictory pleasure:

From today's TMQ:

Right now, rookie left tackle Michael Oher looks terrible. [...] Maybe Baltimore needs to take him out of the lineup for a while.

From today's Peter King Midseason All-Pro team:

RT Michael Oher Ravens
Rookie who can't be intimidated. Quick feet. Will get stronger.


I haven't watched much of the Ravens this year, so I don't know who is right, but I'd tend to side with King. He may be best buddies with many players, but he usually has at least a decent idea of how good a player is.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, I guess relevance is the key. The Knicks are irrelevant right now and that probably is not good for the NBA. I don't think the Knicks need to take on the importance that Mariotti seems to think they should take on, but I do believe they need to be relevant.

That's an interesting point about the Rays and why you think the World Series didn't do as well. I had not thought about that. Maybe there was a little I don't want to say jealousy, but something like that, and the Rays didn't get to be quite the story that got hyped like they should have. I do think part of it is that they haven't been in MLB long enough for the media to throw them a bone and take them for real. I bet a lot of people were disgruntled because they didn't get to see the Phillies or Cubs and the Red Sox or Yankees.

Rulebook, I noticed that as well. The funny part is that Easterbrook somehow thinks benching Oher is the answer. I think he is being a little bit too tough on a rookie left tackle.

Jeremy Conlin said...

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but I love LeBron James as much as one heterosexual man can platonically love another. I'm not sure most people realize how good he is, and how good he can be. He is the only basketball player I've ever seen come into the league that literally had no ceiling.

But let me say this. If LeBron signs in New York after all of his talk about "winning championships," that will be it for me. I will wash my hands clean of LeBron. This Knicks team has a chance to be historically bad. They are 20th in the NBA or worse in arguably the 4 most important metric stats: Rebound Rate (29th), Effective FG% (22nd), Offensive Efficiency (24th), and Defensive Efficiency (20th). For context, no team in the last 20 years has ever finished the season 20th or worse in all four of those categories. That team is an abomination.

If LeBron is smart, he should go to the Clippers. They've got a really nice nucleus with Baron, Kaman, Griffin, and Eric Gordon all locked up through 2012. They've also got a good amount of cap space (only committed to $39 Million next summer).

As for the "its beneficial to the league for LeBron to go to New York" theory, there's no question it's true. If the league's signature city, which also doubles as the biggest media market, has a relevant team, that market is going to be spending more money on advertisements and the like, and the fans of that team are going to be buying more tickets and luxury suites, as well as more merchandise. LeBron going to New York in the prime of his career would be the biggest transaction in the history of the league. From a revenue and marketing standpoint, it's definitely beneficial for the league and its business partners to have big-market teams (Boston, New York, Chicago, LA) to be in positions to be successful. The question is whether it's good from an entertainment standpoint to have the media constantly force-feeding us how great it is to have big market teams do well.

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know if LeBron knows quite yet how good he is. He is a tight end or defensive end in the body of a basketball player, which makes him probably the biggest freak of an athlete the NBA has ever seen. I don't have a huge crush on him or anything but I respect him and how he plays the game of basketball.

I think LeBron is too smart to go to New York. They provide nothing that he can't get from nearly every other NBA team (other than money of course). The Clippers are a good possibility for LeBron and of course I think it would be intriguing to see him to go OK City, which won't happen. I'd like to see him play with Griffin and Eric Gordon and go head to head with Kobe in the LA market. That would be interesting.

As far as New York and endorsements being more available, of course that stuff is available, but I don't think it would enhance his legacy any playing in New York. Playing in NY is playing under a microscope and that city would see him as the savior. I am just afraid that no matter how good he is, they would expect even more out of him.

You have a good point that for the league it would be great to have Kobe in LA, Boston be successful and Chicago on the upswing as well. The question I have is whether it is best for LeBron and I don't think it is. His legacy in the NBA will be taken care if he plays like he has so far and wins a couple NBA Titles.

I don't think it is good for the media to force feed that it is great to have big market teams do well. Of course, as we talked earlier, have to be relevant but I don't think LeBron skipping over playing for the Knicks would mean anything overwhelmingly negative for the league. They need the big market teams to be competitive, not necessarily the best teams in the league every year.

I don't think it is great from an entertainment standpoint honestly for the perception that the NBA is not complete unless large market teams do well. Like every other team, they need to be relevant though.

Go said...

Speaking of Northeastern bias, yesterday the title to a story on Espn.com read,"Jeter, Teixeira earn AL Gold Gloves." I'm sure it was just random that those two out of the nine were chosen.

Getting back to the topic yesterday. I guess my point of bias was that LeBron should be given the same media attention, exposure, and opportunity to boost the league popularity no matter where he plays. I understand that it's easier to cover an athlete in New York since it's the country's media center.

If he turns down New York's and New Jersey's upcoming offers an stays put, will the media pay a little less attention to him knowing he'll be in small-time Cleveland for the next X amount of years?

Go said...

I do think there will be a media backlash for awhile if he stays. These snobs will not be able to comprehend how a great athlete could chose to play his career in Cleveland when teams from the coast want him.

Bengoodfella said...

ESPN knows when those two names are in the title, people are more likely to click on the link. It's not quite as sexy to see Jones, Ichiro win Gold Gloves.

It is easier to cover LeBron if he is New York and I can understand why journalists tend to think NY is the best place for a player to play. Really, it's not true in the case of LeBron. I agree with Jeremy that LeBron playing in NY would allow him different opportunities than other teams may allow, but I don't think it would allow him to meet his basketball goals and it also won't allow him a greater legacy.

I think for a period of time no one in certain parts of the media will understand if he chooses a smaller market team, but I would hope they would cover him the same no matter where he goes.

I would love to see him to go to New Jersey, LA Clippers or Oklahoma City just as a basketball fan but that doesn't mean those are the best places for him to go.

Every team wants him, but if Cleveland is the best place for him, they will just have to take some time to get over it.

Jeff said...

Lebron winning 41 games on the Knicks will hurt his legacy a lot more than winning 60 on the Cavs.

I will respect Lebron so much more if he has the same mindset that Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan had. To paraphrase - it's the mindset of - "I was drafted by this team that has had a terrible history, but these fans and this city deserve a championship...it's my job to bring it to them. I don't need superstars on my team, I just need a good coach and some good complementary players and I'll figure it out."

Isiah and MJ never said...."I'm not getting enough attention and/or these guys I'm playing with suck...so trade me to the Celtics or Lakers". They viewed bringing a championship home as their job.

Bengoodfella said...

Jeff, I agree with you on that. I don't think it matters at all if LeBron goes to NY if his team doesn't win games.

Larry Bird did have the luxury of having a good team around him, but I would also argue that he wouldn't complain about the teammates around him and he would put the onus on him to make the players around him better. Isiah too. It did help they had good players around them, but they also helped those players become good.

Cleveland is a little bit different story because I don't really like too many of the moves they have made, as far as big men go, and I am not sure they do help LeBron...but still going to NY isn't going to be much better for him.