What should he do?
Seriously. What should he do?
That's what LeBron James asks in his new TV commercial.
In case you were fortunate enough to miss it, LeBron poses a lot of questions in this interminable 90-second ad, which forces us to reflect once again on his horribly ungracious exit from Cleveland last summer — a.k.a. The Decision, as he and his lackeys called it.
The commercial opens with a profile shot of LeBron looking thoughtful, and then he asks, "What should I do?" He proceeds to ask the question repeatedly while we watch him in action on and off the court.
LeBron doesn't really want answers, of course; what he wants is your sympathy. What he wants is to reclaim the love and popularity he lost when he dumped his hometown in a stunningly narcissistic way to sign with a hand-picked, instant-championship team in Miami. When he asks, "What would YOU do?" what he is really saying is, "You would have done the same thing."
Which is wrong. Nobody else in his position has done what he did. No star player — Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Bill Russell, or LeBron's new teammate, Dwayne Wade — gave up on themselves and their team to join another team just to win a championship. It was unthinkable to them. They wanted to beat those guys, not join them.
LeBron doesn't want answers to his questions, but he'll get them here anyway.
"Seriously, what should I do?" he asks, staring into the camera lens.
Well, for starters, LeBron, you should shut your mouth. Every time you open your big yapper on this subject, it just makes things worse. Like the time CNN's Soledad O'Brien idiotically served you up an excuse you hadn't even thought of by asking if race was a factor in your falling out with the public. You should have said no and explained that couldn't be the case because, after all, you made zillions of dollars off the public — white and black — before The Decision and you were still black back then, too. Instead, you saw an opportunity for sympathy and jumped onboard — "I think so at times," you said. "It's always, you know, a race factor."
As if you hadn't already alienated enough people.
"Should I admit that I've made mistakes."
It's a nice thought, but The Decision took way too much time and calculation for you to claim it was a mistake — the weeks you kept fans waiting, the egotistical TV special for the announcement, the callous departure. Don't go there. Besides that, you already told GQ Magazine there was "nothing at all" that you would change about the way you handled free agency.
"Should I really believe that I ruined my legacy?"
Legacy?! What planet are you living on, LeBron? YOU DON'T HAVE A LEGACY. What you have is lots of money and, let's see, ZERO rings after seven years in the league. Listen, LeBron, you are a product manufactured and paid for by Madison Avenue and, more specifically, Nike, the evil shoe giant that loves to produce in-your-face ad campaigns. They had shoes to sell, you were supposed to be the next big thing, soooo ... You are a pitchman. Even if you win a ring now, it won't be much of a legacy. You couldn't do it with your team; you had to do it with someone else's.
"Should I just sell shoes?"
"Should I tell you I am not a role model?"
Oh, pa-lease. Next question.
"Should I be who you want me to be?"
As Cleveland fans noted in their clever rebuttal to your commercial, why don't you be who you said you'd be? You said you were going to take Cleveland to a championship "and I won't stop till I get it."
"Should I remind you that I've done this before?"
Done what? As you ask this question, the camera shows a kid staring at what appears to be a high school trophy case. What does this mean? That you abandoned your high school for another high school? Or that you won a high school championship and therefore you know how to win a world title?
(You gotta be kidding. LeBron, please, stop; you're making this way too easy.)
"Should I tell you I'm a championship chaser. That I did it for money? Rings?
Tell us you did it because you couldn't handle playing the lead role, that you needed someone to lean on, that you don't have the stomach for it. As proof, you can point to Game 5 in Boston.
"Should I accept my role as a villain?"30 comments on this story
Look, you abandoned your hometown in the worst way — the same town that wrote a song begging you to stay. If that weren't bad enough, now you're fishing for sympathy from a public that's just happy to have a job while you're making $40 million a year and your biggest problem is you got your feelings hurt. Yes, the villain role fits.
"Should I stop listening to my friends?"
Yes. All three of them.
"Should I try acting?"
Isn't that what you were doing all along?
"Should I remove my tattoo?"
Good idea. The "CHOSEN 1" tattoo on your back is vain and presumptuous and no longer applies.
"Maybe I should just disappear."
You did it in the playoffs; you can do it again.