I believe it was Aristotle or Men’s Humor that once said, “Don’t believe everything that you read on the Internet.” As true as that statement may be, here we are sitting neck deep in the swimming pool filled with feces known as the NBA offseason’s free agency period. We never thought that it could get worse than The Decision for LeBron James, but whatever the hell people are calling this current informational chaos makes a 30-minute sit-down with Jim Grey for Vitamin Water look like dinner with your grandparents. But patience and accuracy mean so little in this era of endless access to information, and that’s why so many experts and analysts have been causing NBA fans to lose their f*cking minds over the last week.
LeBron’s problem is that The Decision proved that no matter how well he hid away in his Fortress of Solitude, there were always leaks in his inner circle. The detriment of surrounding yourself with lifelong friends as business associates and partners is that no amount of money or job security can keep a guy’s mouth shut. Maybe LeBron’s crew works better than I give them credit for, but having simply known other human beings for 30+ years of life, I’ve never met a person who could shut his mouth about anything. Secrets only exist in diaries, and even then there’s always a shithead trying to sneak a peek or tear a page out.
Is that the reason why we’ve reached this incredible point of strange information about The King’s return to Cleveland, because people can’t shut the f*ck up? It seems bizarre that while Stephen A. Smith had amazingly accurate information about the professional desires of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010, the best we’re getting now is someone from Caroline’s Cupcakes hearing from someone close to LeBron that he’s returning, and a guy who did some snooping on LeBronJames.com discovering some new font schemes that match the colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then again, there’s also Chris Sheridan, the freelance NBA expert and analyst who claims his sources are “90% certain” that Cleveland is about to throw the biggest homecoming party in NBA history, and he stands by those sources and his story 100%, despite whatever he’s pissed off at Colin Cowherd about.
Sheridan’s scenario is strikingly similar to Smith’s, in that neither of them were employed by networks during LeBron’s free agency periods, and Smith earned himself a new career with ESPN for nailing the LeBron to Miami prediction. I don’t know if Sheridan has a desire to work for a major player like ESPN or Fox Sports, but it couldn’t hurt his “brand,” to use a word I loathe, to be the guy who went all-in first in predicting LeBron’s return to Cleveland. Like others, Sheridan has a source who is telling him that this is going to happen, and because he’s not Chris Broussard, who has the industry’s worst reputation for Tweeting news that has already been broken and acting like he just broke it with his own “Sources,” more people are willing to listen to Sheridan, despite the fact that he retweeted a “confirmation” from a clearly fake “Chriz Broussard” account.
Therein lies the problem for any NBA “expert” or “analyst.” If little, old irrelevant me decided to go all-in on LeBron’s destination, no one would give a crap if I was eventually wrong. Sure, commenters would bust my balls like they did after The Decision, but I don’t have a reputation to worry about. Sheridan, on the other hand, will be absolutely destroyed on Twitter and other sites if he’s wrong, and that begs the question – why would Sheridan go all-in on LeBron to Cleveland if he doesn’t truly believe that it’s going to happen? And again, Broussard is behind him, despite the fact that he and Brian Windhorst, who infamously knows LeBron better than anyone, reported just this morning that no decision has been made.
Meanwhile, Darren Rovell has employed his own brand of “journalism” in Tweeting what other people have already Tweeted and presenting it as legitimate information because he Tweeted it, while pointing out that LeBron’s web team reached out to Twitter this morning for account assistance (SHOCKING!) and his most recent follow at the time was the Akron Beacon Journal, which just so happened to run a story about the LeBron James Foundation teaming up with Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis (whom I love, but that’s a whole different story) one week ago. If anything, this is like the crushed nuts being sprinkled on top of the ice cream sundae of our own absurd obsession with unfiltered, nonstop information.
So where, then, does LeBron James end up signing? According to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd, James canceled his plans to travel home to Akron from his Las Vegas meeting with Pat Riley and other Heat officials, and he’s going directly to Brazil to catch the World Cup Finals. We can pretend that means nothing more than a world class athlete taking advantage of the fact that he owns at least one private jet and has access to literally any event in any place on Earth. Seriously, if LeBron wanted to attend mass at the Vatican, he could hide under the Pope’s robe if he asked. But this also looks like the final act of a man about to make a decision that is going to royally infuriate at least one city and its NBA fans. If he learned anything from The Decision, it was to get the hell away from everything and let the smoke clear first.
There’s a rumor (from Sheridan, I believe) that the announcement could come today on LeBronJames.com. However, if the pages that the web developer wrote about aren’t even set up, that seems unlikely unless it’s just going to be a quick message on the front page. And with no comments section, that means that Twitter will be a nightmare. But who will the angry fans be? Will Miami Heat fans, spoiled by four NBA Finals appearances in the last four seasons and two Larry O’Brien trophies, be the ones calling LeBron a “trader” this time? Or will Cavs fans find themselves broken-hearted for the second time when the King decides that his talents will remain in South Beach?