For every sports fan or fan of athletic black men, for whatever reason, the LeBron James Reality Show is set to end tomorrow night when he announces on ESPN at 9pm where he will play next year. I’m just surprised he did not select the Bravo Network to make his announcement.
Thanks to magazines like Maxim, men began slowly creeping into women’s dominion over fashion, grooming and sexual insecurity over a decade ago. In the interest of full disclosure I occasionally get manicures and do tear up at the movie Dead Poets’ Society, but it is starting to feel like there are no differences between women and men. I think in work and other areas where equality is needed that is great, but in general society I think it is important to have differences and embrace and enjoy them. But thanks to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the impressively annoying Chris Bosh, the differences have been obliterated. LeBron, Wade and Bosh are supposed to be alpha males and caricatures of male virility as elite professional athletes; so why have they become The Real Housewives of Miami?
First let’s start with Bosh. Has a man ever sent more mixed messages? His hair and imposing presence make me think he is hunting Arnold Schwarzenegger in a jungle, but his Tweets make me think he is one Cosmo from tweeting, “Miami is totes fab, having a quick vacay before heading to training camp with the ladies!” Thank you Twitter for taking the position made famous by Kevin McHale, Karl Malone and Kevin Garnett and turning it into something Joel McHale can discuss on The Soup! And if you think this is overblown, Bosh does have a documentary crew following him around. I guess so future generations can actually witness the moment when a guy who looked like Predator became Bethany Frankel (even that I know who Bethany Frankel is is a personal crisis for me). And all this for a player who has no business being considered a top 3 free agent.
Then there is Dwyane Wade, who has the man street cred of having given a woman VD (not his ex-wife), but who also has a documentary crew following him. Seriously is Oxygen or Bravo going to pick this up? This has been like a bizarre romance between D-Wade and Bosh. I can see them doing Real World confessionals with Wade saying, “If Chris wants me he can come to me,” and Bosh tearing up, “I just want him to want me.” Oh wait, they may have already done that in their respective documentaries.
Then there is LeBron. The alpha male of alpha males. He is announcing his decision tomorrow night on ESPN. I’m pretty sure that gay guy that does the Housewives reunion shows will be hosting it. Where is Simon Cowell to call this “incredibly self-indulgent?” Even Alex Rodriguez had a standard press conference when he came to the Yankees (Derek Jeter probably required it) and that guy is a cologne ad and a Men’s Health cover all in one (as in Metrosexual to the point of occasional exploration). And A-Rod fu*ked Bethany Frankel, he did not become her. But LeBron (and the media circus which have been willing co-conspirators) have turned this into drama that only reality show dregs can match.
And what reality show would be complete without tears and tomorrow night I expect them to be flowing from LeBron. He can stay in Cleveland, which is his home, where he is the favorite son or he can go to one of the bigger glamorous cities. Wait, wasn’t that the “plot” of The Hills? See, I hate these shows and yet I am so inundated with the crap that I think I know what they are. But I never expected the NBA to be this. Now I may have to watch the WNBA for a more masculine version of the NBA, albeit, one with lots of layups.
But LeBron’s other options are New York, Chicago and Miami, all great cities. If he goes to Miami I hear that Natasha Bedingfield has been commissioned to write a theme song.
I hope he stays in Cleveland because I don’t think those other cities deserve him or will genuinely appreciate him the way that Cleveland will. But this process has already done it’s damage. Not just because it has turned NBA stars into trite starlets, but because it has forced me to further respect a player I do not particularly like: Kobe Bryant. Hey, at least he’s still a man. And if LeBron leaves Cleveland to form the Spice Girls in Miami I will do something I have never done – I’ll be rooting for Kobe in the Finals.