Let’s everybody have an interview

June 4th, 2010 by John Krolik

Some events require a measured response. Other need a free-flowing essay. Others need a poem of some kind or something. Clearly, the events of the past couple of days require that I interview myself.

Good Evening, Mr. Krolik.

Good evening, you.

So, LeBron will be appearing on “Larry King Live” on Friday night.

That’s what they tell me.

In person, around the blogosphere, or on Twitter, have you seen anyone whose opinion on said appearance is along the lines of “Oh boy, I’m so glad LeBron is going to be on Larry King?”

No.

Is everyone of the opinion that this is an annoying diversion from the NBA Finals and further evidence of LeBron’s egomania?

Yes.

Why do you think people have those opinions?

Well, because it is an annoying diversion from the finals and further evidence of LeBron’s egomania.

Egomania? Explain.

Well, it’s no great secret that LeBron has enjoyed milking this free agency situation for all it’s worth. This is nothing new for people that have been following the Cavs for a few years. He loves this stuff.

And why do you think that is?

Well, remember that many, many people who are not LeBron James have believed that LeBron James is the best player in the world for a number of years now. Yes, John, I realize that we are about a week away from Kobe claiming the unofficial title of the undisputed best player in the league. Still, the fact is that LeBron was playing on a completely different level than the rest of the league was for the past 162 regular season games, had three amazing individual series performances in 2009…

Wait, three great individual series performances? They lost in the third round against the Magic.

Look at what LeBron did in that series, Krolik. His numbers were off the charts, he made a game-winning buzzer-beating three, and he scored or assisted on something like 25 of the Cavs’ final points in their other victory in the series.

Go on.

I appreciate you giving me permission, buddy. So anyways, LeBron’s looked like the best player in the league for the last two years, with the exception of that Celtics series. (I acknowledge that the majority of the populace believes that Celtics series proves that he is not the best player in the planet. Let me continue.) I think that LeBron firmly believes he is the best player in the world, and one of the best ever. I’d be disturbed if he didn’t think that.

Everyone else is going to count championships, but LeBron is very aware of what he’s done on a night-in, night-out basis. If there’s a key takeaway here, it’s this: LeBron does not evaluate himself the same way everyone else evaluates him. That is probably a good thing, in some ways.

So anyways, LeBron believes that this is a fairly unprecedented event: the best player in the NBA, maybe one of the best players ever, searching for a coach and supporting cast capable of making the most of his talents and getting him a championship.

A capable supporting cast? Cleveland won 61 games this year, you short jackass.

Yes, and LeBron accounted for 11 more (estimated) wins than any other player on a contending team. Circular logic is fun, though. You travel-sized jerk.

The best player, and inarguably the most talented player, searching for a good supporting cast for a decade. Is there any precedent for that?

Well, there’s Wilt. LeBron’s more flexible and less self-centered than Wilt was, but I’m getting way more Wilt vibes from LeBron’s career than I’m comfortable with. That combination of impossible situations and tough breaks (Frank Selvy) just seems ominous.

In a leaked excerpt from the interview, LeBron said that Cleveland has an “edge” in signing him this off-season. Does LeBron genuinely acknowledge his Cleveland roots and appreciate what the Cavalier organization has done for him over the past seven years, or is he just covering his bases in case he does decide to leave?

Yes.

So, in your opinion, why does pretty much everybody hate LeBron right now?

It comes back to that Bull Durham thing, Krolik. Remember that part where Crash is telling Nuke to clean the mold off his shower sandals? Win 20 in the show, you’re quirky. As long as you’re in the minor leagues, clean your sandals.

That’s how it is with LeBron and the championship. Win a championship, and going on Larry King is fun. Doing a scripted movie is fun. Acknowledging that the basketball world is drooling over the possibility of signing you is fun. Dancing on the court is fun. Hosting the ESPYs is fun. You have the perceived right to play GM. A championship ring makes everything that you do a thing that Champions do.

Without a championship ring, everything you do is something that losers do. Every hour you spend having a life or pursuing other interests is an hour that might have cost your team the championship, the thinking goes. Which is why LeBron should have waited until he got a ring to do this stupid movie.

So you’re saying that if you win a championship (and maybe two) as the best player on your team, people will forget that you demanded a trade, criticized moves the front office made, and may have refused to re-up with your team until they traded away a hall-of-fame center?

I hope you’re not talking about Kobe and Shaq. They traded him away because he wanted an extension. THERE IS NOTHING MORE TO THAT STORY. Never mind what Phil Jackson said in his book. I’m sure he was just in a bad mood.

Would this be a good time to mention that Kobe made a rap album?

Is there ever a bad one?

Now you’re just being mean to Kobe.

No, I’m using him to defend LeBron. Kobe managed to play GM for a few years, get Shaq out of town, be a superstar, and produce a rap album over the course of a career that got him five championships. That’s great for him. In hindsight, there’s nothing he should have done differently. Where I have a problem is when people say Kobe’s won these championships because he’s a borderline sociopath basketball robot who doesn’t do anything else. Kobe’s such a great player. I don’t understand why fans have to make him into something he’s not in order to appreciate him.

Kobe’s a workaholic, but he’s also a human being who does things other than basketball. For that matter, so was MJ. (WHO BECAME A BRAND AND STARRED IN A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE. AND RETIRED FOR TWO FREAKING YEARS TO PLAY BASEBALL. AND STARTED GOLFING IN COLLEGE AND WAS A SCRATCH GOLFER BY THE TIME HE RETIRED. AND IS A FULL-ON GAMBLING ADDICT. ALSO, SECRET FAMILY.) While we’re on the subject, Tiger Woods was the hardest-working golfer on the planet, bar none, while juggling like 12 mistresses. Players can work very hard at their craft and work very hard in their personal lives. In fact, the two qualities often go hand in hand.

How can LeBron change public opinion about him?

LeBron will become a changed, humbled man .0000001 seconds after his team wins an NBA Championship. If doing well at the Masters can “humble” Tiger for some reason, clearly the magic healing powers of winning playoff games will help LeBron.

Are you finding it hard to root against Ron Artest, in spite of everything?

Extremely hard. I can’t remember a post-Gasol Laker with legitimate cult/underdog appeal. Well, except for Odom. (Do NOT try to sell me Shannon Brown.) Say Queensbridge.

Do you wish you were recapping an NBA Finals game right now instead of discussing LeBron appearing on a talk show?

Yes.