If you tuned in to the ambient noise of the ninth circle of hell this morning, you heard Stephen A. Smith on Mike and Mike talking about LeBron James. And why yes, he did throw some shit at the wall. SportsGrid has the audio, as well as this summary:
This morning, Smith said that he's "[heard] things" through the "grapevine" of a "personal nature," and it may or may not involve, "somebody other than the player," and it may or may not "have a profound effect on the player," and it has nothing to do with "the game of basketball."
Smith won't say it, but the Internet will, and it's a very unlikely name being tossed around this time. (And mom isn't involved.)
So now we have a starting point for the 2011 edition of this column, if it comes to that. It shouldn't, but it probably will, and only because the Heat are two games from elimination. We knew coming into this five-year experiment that it would take just big loss to start the LeBron James doubt machine up again. It didn't matter how much was his fault — any loss automatically becomes about him. And, of course, nebulous off-court business.
Listen to Smith's comments again. There's no "there" there. There's nothing. There's something he saw online, and grapevines and weasel words and equivocation and rumors of rumors and zero news, which is what Stephen A. Smith does when he's allowed to talk instead of write. This isn't passing along a rumor: it's starting one, and it's a low blow to bring it up at all to a world hungry for just this kind of bullshit about LeBron James.
We can't put the genie back by ignoring this: it's too late for that. A loud man, on a hugely popular radio show, talking about the most famous man in sports? It's out there, and "legitimate." LeBron's personal life belongs to the world now. Go nuts.