Thursday night, LeBron James will announce live on ESPN his destination for 2010-2011. Several teams - the Heat, Cavaliers, Knicks, Nets, and Bulls are the front-runners -- await his decision with breathless anticipation. ESPN doesn't get to sell ads -- rather, James' marketing company is selling the ads to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Yes, it's self-serving, and plenty of columnists are disgusted by the whole enterprise. Though James is widely acknowledged to be the best player in the game, his teams have always come up short come playoff time -- which in tandem with his me-first attitude has led some to conclude that James is more interested in brand-building than in winning titles.
An ESPN.com poll indicated that 40 percent of fans like James less after this whole drawn-out process. Two-thirds of fans -- including two-thirds in Minnesota -- allowed that they were bothered by James' decision to turn the announcement into event, with one-third saying that this bothered them "a lot."
So, Minnesota fans: One must assume that if you now hate LeBron James, you also hate Brett Favre.
Like LeBron, Favre has manipulated the media into covering his decisions with the greatest possible frequency. (Favre apologists, you cannot deny that the man does seem to enjoy the spotlight.) Like LeBron, Favre's decisions are made without regard to what's best for his team. The Vikings will enter yet another season with Tarvaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels as their only contingency plans, despite Favre giving no indication of whether he'll be back for another season or not. If he does decide to call it quits, Minnesota will be left without the option of figuring out another option. And you can be sure if he does return, it'll be only on his schedule -- and forget minicamps and training camps and all of the other things that are so clearly beneath a star of his magnitude.
Can you imagine if LeBron decided that he wouldn't announce where he was signing until after training camp? That he considered the team so beneath him that he wouldn't bother to show up for offseason activities? He's already being raked over the coals for his egocentric Favreian decision process; imagine how vilified he'd be for taking it all the way.
I'm not saying, of course, that you should hate Brett Favre. Most Vikings fans seem to have made their peace with the whole situation, and accepted the spotlight and the attitude that come along with the team's only chance for a successful 2010 season.
But if you have a No. 4 purple jersey in your closet, don't catch yourself opining about what a selfish oaf LeBron James is.