There has been a lot of controversy following LeBron James’ infamous comments, specifically contracting the Minnesota Timberwolves and the New Jersey Nets from the NBA. There only seem to be two logical explanations to his most recent PR debacle: that LeBron was cast out of pure molten evil, or that he simply is too mentally deficient to understand the implications of his words.
Politics aside, Mark & I lend our gratitude to The Daily Show, who originally came up with the idea for Team Evil vs. Team Stupid. I’m in Team Stupid camp, while Mark has taken his talents to South Bea…er, Team Evil. I’ll allow Mark to set it off.
Mark: Thanks, Devin. Clearly LeBron James is pure evil. He’s already responsible for emotionally crippling the entire city of Cleveland. But he’s not satisfied with just Cleveland. Like Dr. Doom, LeBron and his plan of superstar saturation is bent on world domination, leveling sports franchise after sports franchise in order to create an NBA of all haves and no have-nots. He starts with the Cavs and then sets his death ray on Minneapolis and then Newark. Sure, he shows some remorse, letting some of the citizens of these cities escape, like Kevin Love and Brook Lopez. But through his sympathy to those players, he’s only creating inertia to further level the fan bases in these cities.
Imagine being a T’Wolves fan post-contraction and seeing Kevin Love on the Lakers – the team that originally left the Great Lakes for Hollywood years ago? How would Nets fans feel if Newark was contracted, Brooklyn was shut down and Brook Lopez became Amare Stoudemire’s first mate with the Knicks? This may sound farfetched right now, but if LeBron’s plan of superstar saturation-domination were to come to fruition, that’s a real life scenario. Yes, I’m with team evil.
Devin: LeBron isn’t evil, he’s just speaking purely out of inane self-interest. Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, and Kevin Love are three guys who would shore up three of the Heat’s biggest weaknesses: interior scoring, production & leadership at the 1, and rebounding. He’s absolutely right that having guys of that caliber all on the same team would make for highly entertaining basketball – heck, a starting 5 of Harris/Wade/James/Bosh/Lopez would be an instant contender not just for a championship, but for the best starting 5 of all time. It’s just that the way he went about saying it showed a surprisingly gross lack of self-awareness. Look at the tone of what he said. It essentially goes like this: “Contraction would be great for competition. These guys on the Wolves & Nets would be awesome on the Heat. But wait, I don’t want to get rid of those teams!”
Evil is marked by a guy with a clear vision for world destruction. This isn’t clear, it’s bungled & hypocritical. Guys who are truly evil don’t make off-the-cuff remarks about contraction to get players they want and then backtrack to cover their own asses. This isn’t the mark of some evil mastermind. LeBron James, unfortunately, is just plain stupid.
Mark: If LeBron James is so stupid, why is he so self-aware? Go back to what he said during the whole contraction situation: he talks about taking Love, Lopez and Harris off the Nets and Wolves, but does a total CYA by throwing in there, “But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid, it would be great for the league.” A guy who’s just narcissistic but not evil doesn’t throw in the wink-wink/nudge-nudge to the reporters like LeBron does here. It’s in the same vein as his infamous “What Should I do?” Nike commercial? LeBron is absolutely, 100 percent aware of his transgressions and perceived transgressions, but remains totally unapologetic.
A dumber man would have issued some kind of apology to the Nets and Wolves organizations, the Players Union, David Stern, etc., or would at least feign some sort of an apology after being forced to by his handlers/publicists. But life carries on for LeBron and he continues to be cold and calloused about the weight of his words and decisions. Those are the actions of soulless, evil man, who believes he is the center of the universe and that it’s his RIGHT to be the center of the universe.
Devin: Actually, a smarter man than LeBron would have merely apologized to the organizations that he implied should be contracted. What a dumber man might do is issue a retraction and deny that he even knows the meaning of what he was talking about. Oh, wait! That’s exactly what LeBron is doing. Not only is he denying it, he’s saying he doesn’t even know what contraction means. This is the mark of someone so unaware of what he’s talking about that he’s literally saying he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If he’s lying, that just makes it worse, because if he expects us all to believe he’s that stupid, then he’s hit a new low on the stupidity scale.
LeBron just doesn’t seem to understand how much his comments could hurt the cause of the players union, that the talent level today far exceeds the 1980s (between more intense training & the additional pool of international players, I honestly think that sans Jordan today’s stars would smoke the stars of the 80s), and that the NBA would never contract a team like New Jersey, who is less than two years from Brooklyn and lays claim to the richest owner in all of sports. His continuous comments don’t prove that we’re dealing with an evil madman. It just proves we’re dealing with someone firmly locked into Team Stupid.
You’re mine, Devin. All mine.
Mark: I know LeBron James didn’t go to college, and given how he was treated like the messiah back in Ohio, I’m sure he wasn’t asked to do a heckuva lot of learning in high school, but pleading ignorance to the very meaning of the word “contraction” might be the flimsiest excuse I’ve ever heard and once again demonstrates how James refuses to ever take any sort of accountability for his evil actions. If LeBron wasn’t implying that these franchises shouldn’t been “contracted” as in “eliminated,” why didn’t he make a case for his star-centric league by talking about how great it would be for the league if superstars joined Kevin Love in Minnesota or Brook and Devin in NJ/Brooklyn?
What I find most appalling is just a few months ago the owner of the Nets, the richest owner in the NBA, flew his Gulfstream V to LeBron’s house to pitch about his global vision while one of LeBron’s close friends, Jay-Z is there in the room, talking about Brooklyn, Russian metals, and the future of the franchise. To turn around and suggest that the league would be better off without the Nets is pretty friggin evil.
At least I hope he’s evil. Because if LeBron isn’t as evil as I think he is, then he is just absolutely stupid.
Devin: Here’s the thing. I don’t honestly believe that LeBron wants to contract teams. I think he wants people to like him, but he also wants to ensure that he ends out his career a winner, regardless of context. That’s why I think these most recent comments weren’t intended as malicious or evil, I just think they were LeBron James living out a dream in fantasyland. LeBron started talking about the imagined nostalgic “good ol’ days” of basketball, and before he knew it, he was unwittingly supporting cutting two basketball teams for their three good players.
That’s why this doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t think LeBron is honestly evil enough to throw the entire players union under the bus. I do, however, think he’s that stupid. That’s all this is to me. This is a guy who’s the best basketball player on the planet, who’s living a dream life right now, just piling on his dreams. It was a completely misguided, misinformed, and stupid statement to make, and the fact that he had no idea what kind of snowball he was rolling when he said it only adds to that fact.
At least, I hope he’s that stupid. Because if he’s not, then man, he is unfathomably evil.
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