LeBron James Is Like An iPod

16 04 2008

I’ll make a confession right now. I’ve gone to the Dark Side.

I bought an iPod.

After six years of rockin’ the Dell DJ, I caved into the persistent and ubiquitous iPod marketing and bought an inferior MP3 player that blatantly tries to turn you into a captive consumer.

It’s pretty, that cannot be argued. But the iPod is far from flexible.

I mean, iTunes is the only way to put music onto it? Really? And the files aren’t “.mp3” Come on.

I really have to buy a $30 adapter if I want to plug it into the wall?

Wow. I just got scammed. And I’m actually enjoying it a little bit. I like walking around feeling like everyone else now. Let’s go get McDonald’s after our Starbucks coffee and bash on Barack Obama! Well alright! I love being fiscally conservative! Go unbridled consumerism!

I can now wear those white earphones proudly, displaying my social status. I don’t have to cringe when people ask about my “iPod” and I have to respond using the noun “MP3 player.”

I thought years ago: Man, I know I’m a consumer but I’ll find an intelligent alternative to the iPod. Surely, I won’t get sucked into the marketing and hype. I was wrong.

And now I am confused and wallowing in a feeling that isn’t quite buyer’s remorse.

Having gone through this conversion, I’m now staring straight at another paradigm shift that I’m not looking forward to.

Becoming a LeBron James fan is something I dread. But it’s pretty much inevitable, isn’t it?

Who else can the NBA marketers bank on? Dwyane Wade really came on strong a year or so ago. He won a ring playing “selfless” ball next to Shaquille O’Neal. He’s a smooth dresser, a nice guy and has a great smile.

But sadly, D-Wade is about to go the way of Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill. I can’t even remember the last time I saw him play 10 consecutive games. I’m sure that you can’t either and that’s very alarming.

So where does the NBA find another incredible athlete that is a winner and knows how to work the cameras?

Carmelo Anthony, the Larry Bird to LeBron’s Magic Johnson, needs some time to clean up his image problems.

Kobe Bryant’s image is probably too tainted at this point. He’s also a bit old and his name is a bit tired at this point.

Chris Paul never gets on TV. He’s a pretty boy though so look for cameramen to key onto him in the playoffs.

Tim Duncan is great. But he’s old and watching his game is like staring at Mount Rushmore at noon. It’s cool but kinda boring and I don’t like how his thumbs are upturned when he runs.

So what’s an NBA to do?

Witness LeBron.

Over the years, I’ve turned into a big Allen Iverson fan and I now enjoy watching Kobe Bryant play. But for some reason, the thought of enjoying LeBron repulses me.

I dislike him for a few reasons.

His Hype

I’ve heard the name “LeBron James” for almost a decade now. Much like Greg Oden, the media has surrounded this kid since his early high school days.

Do you know anyone that is a late adopter in the iPod consumer bell curve? Those people will never be impressed. In the same sense, I’m not really all that impressed with LeBron James. Nor am I impressed with Oden but that’s another story…

A microcosm of the LeBron hype machine is his nickname, “The King.” It says it all. He was crowned at a young age and he won’t be dethroned until a clear heir emerges.

His Game

Broadcasters love to marvel at LeBron’s game. I know he’s talented, athletic and incredibly strong. But is his game really that marvelous at this point?

The man’s go-to move is essentially a fullback dive. He puts his head down, covers up the ball and runs for daylight. LeBron can get called for charging twice each time down the court.

Up until the last month or so, his outside shot was atrocious. He seems to be knocking down longballs with more ease now but he’s still streaky at best.

LeBron’s got very good court vision but he’s really not that great of a passer yet. LeBron gets assists but he forces shots like a half-Irish guy on St. Patrick’s Day.

One of my college roommates was in the Ohio Catholic conference that LeBron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary’s belonged to. He told me that LeBron was incredible live but he would cherry pick for 3/4 of the game. I imagine it was like watching Leandro Barbosa play.

If LeBron had the letter “D” in his name, I would make another fairly obvious observation. But I digress.

His Facial Expressions

Damon Jones is definitely rubbing off on LeBron. Both are continually snarling throughout the game. The difference is that Jones does it while sitting next to the Gatorade. LeBron, why are you so mad? Big Z did all the work for you by giving you an incredible outlet pass. You’re up by 20 and no one contested your dunk. Why are you snarling?

He looks like Wolf “The Dentist” Stansson out there.


There are few certainties in life. One is that I was eventually supposed to buy an iPod. The second is that I will eventually become a LeBron James fan.

I’ll do it but I won’t enjoy it.