I’ve seen LeBron James play in-person three times, all with the Heat in 2014. One was a loss to the Nuggets, and the other two were W’s, including a 38-point performance versus the Knicks and his career-high 61 points, dropped on the then-Bobcats. He hit a deep, no-business-attempting-let-alone-going-in three to seal the game against New York, which was one of those shots you have to see in person to comprehend its degree of difficulty. And of course his masked masterpiece, a dismemberment of Charlotte, was surreal.
Hating on LeBron is one of those obligations in sports journalism along the lines of debating whether a quarterback is elite. The shit he does and says constantly leaves him more vulnerable than a skittish canine. The hurdle I simply cannot clear with James though is if you see him live, there is an aura. It’s not a halo per se as it is undefinable.
That’s why it’s impossible to describe my disappointment with the crowd’s reaction to his 42-point clinic in his return to the Drew League action in more than a decade. The internet’s ability to one-up any highlight has desensitized the youth to greatness. What LeBron did in that game was every bit as delirium-inducing as Kevin Durant putting up 66 at Rucker Park.
First, here’s a snippet of KD in 2011.
I need more AND1 MixTape Tour reactions to grainy summer hooping tours. Spectators should be on the court dapping up home dude while the emcee yells catchphrases as a starting point.
I don’t know if it was entitlement, desensitization, or what the fuck, but if I’m at an intimate venue with LeBron in his bag — catching oops off the backboard, splashing turnaround fadeaways, effortlessly hitting teammates in stride with behind the back passes — my reaction is more than intermediate oohs and aahs.
Who gives a shit if he’s not dunking Jason Terry’s career into oblivion, it’s LeBron James. The Chosen One. Just this once please stop trying to get footage for a SnapChat story and embrace the moment. Are you aware of the price you’d have to pay for that seat at the Staples Center?
There won’t be too many more chances to see King James on tour without a raspy ass voice. These performances are fleeting, and if LeBron is going to give you Nirvana at the Ranch Bowl vibes, please, please, please reciprocate the energy.
Stop and smell the Mariners
Seattle won its 13th straight game Saturday, and with a win today will enter the All-Star break one win away from tying the franchise record for longest winning streak. The team that the Griffeys made famous is weirdly in position to make the postseason for the first time since 2001.
Julio Rodriguez is stealing bases and smashing grand slams, Sam Haggerty is speeding around the bases for inside the park all-baggers, and everything is coming up Milhouse. The offense isn’t a juggernaut, but the pitching staff has the fifth best ERA in the majors. Currently sitting in the second wild card spot in the AL, the hottest team in baseball also is one of its most entertaining.