Surely this will put me in the minority but I don’t think it’s important to watch LeBron James play basketball. His singular highs reach higher than any other, no doubt. Furthermore, he is capable of producing more moments than any player in the League. No one else is even close.
But the realm that LeBron fails in is the genesis of Events. It feels, to me, like you can understand everything you need to about LeBron through a highlights package. His glory is easily contained. You see, in any given game LeBron will do something special. Something so outstanding that you have to see it and, undoubtedly, you will. But in that same game, you’ll also get a lot of frustration. LeBron settling for jumpers, LeBron taking contested shots, LeBron complaining to referees. And even though this is largely due to the (terrible) system that he plays in, it still is a reality.
If LeBron does something big, if he throws down a 360 in traffic for instance, you will know about it. You’ll see it on SportsCenter, on Youtube. You will know that this happened and you will appreciate its majesty. If he has a terrible shooting night, you can bet that his highlights will be a subset of his missed shots. As I stated before, you will know what happened in LeBron’s game from this reel. Guys like Kobe and Nash though, they create Events.
When Nash was having his 20 assist games late last season, it was a joy to watch the whole game and see him find the angles and hit the cutters. Kobe’s 81 was otherworldly, as was his 50 point streak. Game 5 excepted, LeBron isn’t so much of an Event-maker as a moment-maker.
Now this isn’t to say that I don’t love watching LeBron play; I just think that the essence of his triumphs is more easily distilled than that of other superstars. And yes, I admit that my distaste for the Cavaliers likely plays a large part in my not needing to see LeBron to understand LeBron. (I can’t stand that team for a lot of reasons, which definitely makes me not feel bad about not watching them.) And maybe it’s that LeBron just doesn’t seem human and I don’t like seeing him doing mundane things that makes me choose other avenues. But, for me, LeBron is a magazine and others can be books.
And I love magazines.