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LeBron’s Tipping Point

Last night, on the popular social-networking site “Twit-ter,” we made a snide comment that came across a little meaner than we meant it to. Brian Windhorst, the outstanding Cleveland Plain-Dealer reporter who has been indispensable in sussing out LeBorn rumors (even tweeting outside LeBron’s Akron headquarters who was walking in and out of buildings), lamented over Twitter, “Suddenly it is clear to me. LeBron has changed. A new website. Starting Twitter. This announcement. This isn’t the guy I know.” Like everyone, he was distressed by the news that LeBron will be announcing his decision tomorrow night at 9 p.m. on ESPN. We found this funny, that Windhorst would feel “betrayed” somehow, and said so: “Light dawns. Athletes don’t care about reporters.” We didn’t mean to harsh on poor Windhorst. It’s just … well, some people post triple doubles and are multi-millionaires; others sit outside buildings and live-tweet who’s going inside. Sorry, Brian: No matter how hard you work, you’ll always be outside the circle. This is the life we chose.

Anyway, what Windhorst was responding to, like many others, is the hubris of LeBron, thinking the whole sporting world should tune in to a live, prime-time special just to see which corporation he’s going to take millions of dollars from. (Alan Sepinwall posits how such a show might work.) It is, of course, hubristic, but it’s also right: You’ll be watching; we’ll be watching; everyone will be watching. Though we’ll confess we’ve never wanted an enterprising reporter to scoop a network more than we do right now: Already, as has been pointed out repeatedly, the show has an Al Capone’s vault feel to it.

The details of the show are being worked out, but it’s looking like proceeds of the show will go to charity, which isn’t so bad. And all told, it’s not all that different from a high-school recruit announcing his college decision on ESPNews, which happens all the time. Only this decision will affect the course of the NBA for the next 25 years — that’s probably worth a prime-time special.

But it is turning people against LeBron. At least those he doesn’t choose tomorrow night. After all this, he better have some championships in his back pocket.

LeBron’s Tipping Point