The United States is facing an ecological catastrophe in the making in the gulf coast waters of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, we’re involved in two ongoing wars in the volatile Middle East region, then there’s this little illegal immigration problem, but President Obama is making a pitch for LeBron James to play for his beloved Chicago Bulls.
In an interview televised earlier this week on TNT, Marv Albert went one on one with the President as he tried to sell the good supporting cast theory to James in prospective teammates Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. This time the President’s pitch was more subtle than his unsuccessful bid for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. But, really Mr. President, there are matters of graver importance than what NBA jersey LeBron James will be wearing for the 2010-11 season, and James has not proven he has the mettle to bring another championship banner to the United Center.
The whole “will he stay or will he go” debate smells of an advertising concoction to sell the public on an image that James has not lived up to, and may never live up to. Comparisons between James and Michael Jordan abound, yet when you look at the facts there is a vast difference between the two.
Seven Year Pursuit of NBA Championship
Michael Jordan was drafted the 1984 draft at the age of 21, and won his first NBA Championship in 1991 at the age of 28.
LeBron James was drafted in the 2003 draft at the age of 18, and seven years later at age 25, James has not won a NBA Championship.
Economical Effect on the Game
During the Michael Jordan era, Chicago Bulls games at home and on the road were consistently sold out, and the 1998 finals game 7 still ranks as the highest Nielsen rated game in history; 22.3 rating/38 share, and was seen by 72 million people.
Since the retirement of Jordan there has been a steady decline in the ratings of NBA televised games with regular season average ratings ranging from a low of 2.2 to high of 4.3. LeBron with all his dunking prowess does not have the mass appeal of Jordan’s electrifying persona and equal athleticism.
Jordan possessed a desire to win so strong that he willed his teammates to play better; players like B. J. Armstrong, Stacey King, Bill Wennington, Luc Longley, Will Perdue, Jason Caffey, Randy Brown, Jud Buechler, Steve Kerr, Toni Kucoc and even Cliff Levingston and Dickey Simpkins.
LeBron has shown a greater propensity for individual performance at the expense of team play. LeBron has not shown that he can inspire his teammates to raise their level of play, a necessary ingredient for a franchise player on the road to a championship.
So, while the President and others regale the self-proclaimed “Chosen 1,” the “Gifted Child,” moniker seems a better fit.