There has been a large amount of backlash about LeBron James' decision to announce his choice of team at 9 p.m. on Thursday over at ESPN.
To which I'd say: why?
Let's take a closer look here. Wherever and whenever James made his announcement, there would have been a massive press conference. The major sports networks would have covered it, with ESPN the biggest. So it isn't as if James is getting more publicity by limiting the announcement to ESPN.
He is, however, raising a ton of money for a charity that matters to him by doing so.
And it isn't as if teams have ever shied away from using signing of free agents as spectacles. It's just that the power has shifted here, and a player gets to do the same thing. What a shame, that the billionaire owners have to share some of the offseason spotlight.
Why, to hear the critics of LeBron, just the fact that James had a half-dozen teams from around the country come and meet with him in Akron, rather than flying all over the place in a 3-4 day span, is somehow symptomatic of ego out of control. Presumably, doing that would have dragged out the process, leading to ... more criticism of LeBron James.
Let's remember: this process began on July 1. It is set to end on July 8. LeBron met with interested teams, spent a few days deciding where he wanted to spend the next 5-6 years of his career, and is now ready to make a decision.
Seems awfully reasonable to me.
As a Knicks fan, I desperately hope he comes to New York. But I won't begrudge him any decision he makes. He's 25, he's making the decision that is best for him, and wherever he goes, greatness comes with the package. I was privileged enough to cover a high school tournament he played in, and even then the thought that he could someday rescue the Knicks was one I voiced aloud.
I wish James well. I hope James will come to New York. And I think the critics looking to attack James for how he is handling a position no one has ever been in before -- certainly, one his critics haven't been in -- ought to stand back and let the young man decide without trying to disparage him over the false choice of a high-profile announcement and a complete commitment to winning.