Links to the present: September 4th, 2009

September 4th, 2009 by John Krolik

Not  a whole lot going on today, as has been the norm, but here’s what’s been going on:

Henry Abbott is not too keen on LeBron’s new “autobiography,” Shooting Stars, which was co-written by Buzz Bissinger. I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, and will definitely check it out when I do have a chance, but this review was disheartening to me, because it confirms my expectations to a degree.

Secondly, athlete biographies are disappointing by their very nature; a better piece on this phenomena may have been written, but my personal choice is David Foster Wallace’s piece on Tracy Austin’s biography in Consider The Lobster. (Full disclosure, again: I’m way more of a Wallace fanboy than I am a LeBron fanboy, to give you some perspective.)

And frankly, LeBron’s biography containing a lack of disclosure isn’t a particularly shocking development: LeBron has been a cipher his entire career and public life, and Bissinger’s previous semi-biography on Tony La Russa, Three Nights In August, was extremely disappointing to guys like me, Moneyball devotees looking for a well-thought out rebuttal from the other side. Instead, there was more rote recitals of the myths Moneyball and Baseball Prospectus have systematically debunked, and a one-sentence, widly off-base dismissal of Bill James’ work. (More disclaimers: there is good stuff in that book, and in this blogger’s opinion Bisssinger could have written Friday Night Lights, died, and still have been one of the defining sportswriters of this generation. Add that to his amazing piece on Stephen Glass, among others, and let it be known that there’s a very, very short of nonfiction writers who I would’ve rather had ghostwrite this book. The less said about Bissinger’s Deadspin-inspired blog saga, the better.)

Ever since LeBron got out of high school, almost every “expose,” or biographical piece produced about him, has been a disappointment. At some point, we’re just going to have to accept that reality as Cavalier fans. A larger piece on LeBron’s off-court life and reputation is coming this off-season, especially how it’s changed this summer, but for now I’ll say that I’ve made peace with the fact that LeBron’s truest form of expression is always going to come on the court.

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