There you have it, folks: 2K Sports’ representation in their upcoming basketball videogame, NBA 2K11, of the most self-absorbed, obnoxious, callous, and oblivious athlete today — LeBron James. (Too soon, 2K. Too soon.) Last night, in a clusterf*ck of a one-hour special on ESPN, “The Decision,” James essentially gave a giant middle finger to the entire city of Cleveland by announcing that he was joining his friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to try and win a championship with the Heat. But that wasn’t even the worst part.
The TV show — replete with a soulless Jim Gray interview — was the culmination of a year-long “where will LeBron go?” media frenzy that grew increasingly ridiculous with each passing day, in which ostensible sports journalists tweeted and printed the slightest hint of rumor and speculation as fact. The shenanigans left me sad and jaded (can’t you tell?) to be a sports fan.
I don’t even have a problem with the choice of Miami itself, and I certainly didn’t expect James to stay in Cleveland, but the way in which he and his cadre of brand managers went about “the decision” was insulting and hurtful to sports fans everywhere — but in Cleveland especially. I feel even more jerked around than I did each time Brett Favre retired and un-retired. Hell, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was so hurt and outraged that he lashed out at LeBron with an immature, ill-advised, bitter letter to Cavs fans that sounded like a jealous ex-boyfriend pining for his lost love while simultaneously asserting that he didn’t need her anymore. Sports: it’s serious business, folks.
At least I know Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will never leave the Yankees.
Anyway, you can view the full HD-res screenshot in the gallery below. NBA 2K11, with Michael Jordan on its cover, will be out on October 5th for PS3, 360, Wii, PC, PSP, PS2, and iPhone.
The LeBron Decision [Joe Posnanski]
LeBron React: Never Has Being a Sports Fan Felt So Stupid [New York Magazine]
Open Letter to Fans from Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert [Cleveland Cavaliers]
For Cleveland Fans, Heartbreak Is a Familiar Feeling [New York Times via Bill Simmons’ Twitter]