Did you see the LeBron James spectacle? Never has it felt so stupid to be a sports fan. At least that’s what Will Leitch argues for New York Magazine. After watching the big announcement on Wednesday, Leitch was overcome with what I like to call LeBrondigestionâ€”that sickening feeling you get after consuming unhealthy amounts genuflecting sports journalism, the kind that coddles the egos of self-involved sports stars. You felt it a little bit at Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame acceptance speech. You felt it a lot bit if you watched the LeBron show the other night. Leitch writes:
“LeBron was so, so cruel to Cleveland, not once thanking the fans who made him into what he was, the fans who have to wonder if their absurd investment in their sports franchises will ever be rewarded. No, tonight, it felt like everyone involvedâ€¦ treated the millions of people watching like stupid, mindless consumers, empty lemmings ready to follow Sport into the abyss. Here, here are the Boys & Girls Club props. Here, here is your search engine. Here, here is your online college, Here, here is your Athletic Hero. Eat. Eat. Consume. You like it. You love it. You’ll always come back for more.
“They’re surely right, of course. But never has it been laid more bare, and never did it feel so empty. It felt like a break, the moment when the tide crested, when we looked at the games, and their players, and ourselves, and wondered: Why in the world are we watching these awful people? It was a question impossible to answerâ€¦
“The fear is that we’ve truly seen the ugly, dark heart of sports, and we won’t be able to come back. It feels extremely stupid to be a sports fan. It feels pointless. None of this felt harmless tonight. And we allowed this to happen. Perhaps this is what we deserve. Perhaps this will be good for us, all of us.”
Read the rest here.
(HT: Ross Douthat)