LeBron James is hogging the spotlight during NBA finals

The NBA finals are going on but LeBron James has put himself center stage. (CNN photo)

The NBA finals are going on but LeBron James has put himself center stage. (CNN photo)

This issue has been floating around the media for the last couple of weeks, but it didn’t really start bothering me until the other day, when people started seeking insight from Larry King (seriously?). So let me just put it out there: Does it bother you that LeBron James is hijacking the NBA finals?

This is the kind of thing league executives don’t like. I’ve seen situations where teams were asked to hold off announcing the hiring of a coach until a certain time or day so that it wouldn’t upstage a significant league event, like a championship game. (The NFL generally has every other team in handcuffs during Super Bowl week.)

Do you think LeBron James is upstaging the NBA finals?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Now, I understand that James can’t stop people from talking about his impending free agency. He is news. But what he can do is not hold nationally televised interviews like the one he taped with King, knowing excerpts were going to be systematically leaked for days leading up to Game 1 of the NBA finals before the actual interview aired (tonight).

And try to follow this: ABC, an NBA rights holder, was so angry that James did an interview with CNN that the network announced throughout the day Thursday that it was going to re-air its month-old “Nightline” interview with James following Game 1 that night. So, in effect, ABC tried to upstage CNN, which upstaged the finals, which is on ABC. Got that?

Again, James can’t control people talking and writing about him. But it’s clear now more than ever that this free agency period, for how ever long it lasts, is a carefully orchestrated Nike production. You doubt that? Here’s something else that just “leaked” out — not that anything really gets leaked unless James wants it to. This comes from AOL Fanhouse’s Sam Amick:

LOS ANGELES — In honor of LeBron James and his apparent insistence on being talked about during the NBA Finals, we interrupt coverage to share some free agency news about the league’s King of hype.

According to a source with first-hand knowledge of James’ plans, the Larry King interview that was shot Tuesday and will air Friday on CNN was only the beginning of his elaborate scheme to draw unprecedented attention to his courting. James, according to the source, is in discussions with Nike to create a new shoe for every visit along his free agent path starting July 1. The shoes would have the date of the visit printed, with James already having scripted his itinerary for the Free Agency Tour 2010.

When asked about the timing of the King interview, NBA commissioner David Stern said, “I don’t have a problem with it. It’s fine. The same way it’s fine to have [President Obama] talk to Marv Albert about where LeBron is going or about our game.”

Stern is being disingenuous. He knows there’s a difference. One is the President talking and the other is James talking. Bottom line is that Stern is not going to publicly call out James, who is probably his biggest revenue producer.

This would be a good time to tell you that Atlanta is not on James’ Nike/free agent itinerary (not that he ever was expected to be). According to Amick, James will visit the New York Knicks first, then New Jersey, then New York. Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers could follow.

See? There I go. Talking about LeBron and not Lakers-Celtics.

Maybe he can just hold interviews with prospective owners and general managers at halftime of finals games at mid-court. Then everybody would be happy.

Recent posts

Deck McGuire looks to make amends at Tech before pros call

Selig blows the call worse than umpire on ‘imperfect’ game

Baseball must add replay to avoid more ‘imperfect’ games

‘Vote For Prado’ T-shirts could jump-start All-Star campaign

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and on Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

129 comments Add your comment

T-Bone

June 4th, 2010
9:57 am

First!!

First time First!

G-Money

June 4th, 2010
10:09 am

Mr. Schultz, James is not hijacking the finals or putting himself in front of or above anything. It is the media who is doing it. You could have chosen to write a piece on something pertaining to the NBA finals, or on the game itself, however you chose to write about this lunacy of this being a great free agent summer. The truth be told, in excess of 95% true NBA fans have been aware of this for the past few years. I mean even the New York Knicks have been aware of this for the past few years. It is not new news, so why do you guys all think that it is necessary to keep the story alive?

DP

June 4th, 2010
10:11 am

Larry’s hair color and volume looks real natural. No wonder his wife was getting it on with the pool boy.

Oedipuss

June 4th, 2010
10:19 am

T-Bone, you are the man. Lebron is a joke, he’s never won anything. He’s been crowned, but the emperor wears no clothes. All hat, no cattle….

Fresh

June 4th, 2010
10:19 am

What G-Money said ^^^^^

cmon son

June 4th, 2010
10:27 am

I’d rather talk about Lebron and the Free Agency and how next season will look, as opposed to the boring playoffs that have been had so far. It’s 2008 all over again which is cool to see a rematch between Boston/LA, but to say Lebron is personally hijacking the finals is the most silly thing I’ve ever read. You’re just making up conspiracy theories. haha.

chad

June 4th, 2010
10:28 am

Lebron has to do something to upstage Kobe because he sure as hell can’t do it on the court. We should be celebrating the real best player in the game…Kobe Bryant.

Not Disappointed

June 4th, 2010
10:33 am

wow, he’s just one man in the NBA! Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but Geez!

Ted Striker

June 4th, 2010
10:35 am

I don’t have a problem with it. My reasons, in no particular order:

1) Doesn’t matter to me who wins the finals. By a hair, I’d prefer the Celts, but Lakers is fine and dandy. I respect both franchises.

2) I simply don’t enjoy watching Kobe and am not watching the games because of him. Yes, Kobe is an incredible, awesome, jaw-dropping player…but I simply don’t like the guy, really don’t like the guy. Bryant on the court is a detriment to my enjoyment, no matter how he plays, one way or the other. Can’t explain it however that’s how it is.

3) From my perspective, James is a more compelling saga than the finals. When the finals are done, one team will get rings and a trophy, the other will go home disappointed. Then we’ll forget it. It will mean zilch next season. Where James goes will mean something for at least the next 5 years of league play, likely more, barring injury.

4) In a world of TIVO, DVR, cell phones, twitter, etc — if a basketball fan can’t follow both the Finals and an LBJ media blitz — if they like — it’s on the fan, not anyone else. Stern’s wife is probably getting liposuction paid for by what James (and others) bring to the league. Bonfongoola if he doesn’t like it the timing of the interview.

5) Without the NBA and it’s players, Stern is probably still practicing law or working for Bud Selig.

Hawk n the Ham

June 4th, 2010
10:36 am

Agree Chad.

Kobe > James

TONE

June 4th, 2010
10:38 am

my sources tell me he is going to handpick a coach and stay in cleveland
the final three in his hand picked coaching list are Patrick Callahan currently the head coach of NOME-BELTZ high in Nome alaska, Aubrey Brown currently retired but he coached Julian king in the 5th through the 8th grade julian king is the current secret leader for the hawks head coacing job, third on the list is calipari but they are having trouble agreeing on who would get to call the timeouts during the game Lebron doesn’t want to give up that perk and calipari thinks he should be able to call a timeout every now and then.

Timmy

June 4th, 2010
10:39 am

It really is the media driving this thing…from ESPN to CNN right down to local sportswriters like Schultz. This news seems to be way more fascinating to the media than it is to the public, especially when he’s probably not even leaving Cleveland (MJ, Magic, Bird, Kobe, etc. all got their rings where they started and Lebron will be no exception).

Oedipuss

June 4th, 2010
10:50 am

Lebron would lose to Larry King if the game had any meaning, he is a prima-donna who shines in the regular season, when the men show up for the play-offs he chokes on the moment everytime….

Word

June 4th, 2010
10:56 am

We treate Lebron like he is the King of Kings, but really he has only been to the bid dance once and came home with no date.

Could Lebron be a poison?

Word

June 4th, 2010
10:57 am

Ben

June 4th, 2010
11:00 am

Jeff, your article was featured on my web site’s Twitter feed. You can read it at twitter.com/sportsownershub. All the best to you.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charley Beans and Jeff Schultz, Sports Owners Hub. Sports Owners Hub said: LeBron James is hogging the spotlight during NBA finals – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): Atlanta Journal Con… http://bit.ly/aC8ZHn [...]

HawkKingBibby

June 4th, 2010
11:04 am

J.S. Yes it bother me big time. I never liked this clown and while hate is a strong word I hope HE NEVER EVER WINS AN NBA TITLE. I wouldnt trade Mario West for him and I mean that. He thinks he is bigger than the game and makes Kobe look like a modest American hero, lol. PS Any word on the coach thats the only thing thats bigger then the finals for me lol. WHO WILL COACH THE HAWKS?

Clay

June 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Has LBJ ever won ANYTHING? Peewee, Jr High, High School state championship? Anything?

It would be nice for him to win something before he gets called the greatest . . .

King James

June 4th, 2010
11:08 am

I won the Slam Dunk contest! There!!

Morrus

June 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

Ron Mexico

June 4th, 2010
11:15 am

He was on that Jimmy Kimmel Game Day thing he did too, and got killed by some guy in shooting free throws on one of those little Chuck E Cheese machines. It was pretty funny, and the closest he’ll get to the finals for a while.

Ron Mexico

June 4th, 2010
11:16 am

And dude, get a life Morrus, we get it, you have posted that on like every blog I have looked at lately, WE GOT YOUR POINT! Now take that crap over to a politcal blog or something. Jesus.

JROLL1

June 4th, 2010
11:17 am

@CLAY, YEAH, OHIO STATE CHAMPIONSHIP…BUT, LAQUEEN HAS NOT WON ANYTHING ON THE NBA LEVEL…….

Clay

June 4th, 2010
11:17 am

Nobody’s mentioning another clown who incessantly “hogs the spotlight” from any major sporting event whether it be the Super Bowl, Final Four, and now The Finals – Barack Hussein Obama.

Ron Mexico

June 4th, 2010
11:20 am

And Hawk in the Ham – Agreed. Thats why Kobe has all them rings.

BBrown

June 4th, 2010
11:23 am

Go Braves!! – Who cares about the NBA or NHL in the summer? This is June and its baseball season! LeBrown needs to take his ball, go home, let the NBA finals play out, then make the rounds if he wants. Yes, he is upstaging the overall entity by which he makes millions of dollars.

Oedipuss

June 4th, 2010
11:31 am

His Mom got game!

Reid Adair

June 4th, 2010
11:32 am

I agree, Jeff. Certainly LeBron James can’t control what sports writers, commentators and talk show hosts say on their own. However, he can certainly control what he does – especially with regard to nationally-televised interviews.

I understand that free agency has to wait until the playoffs are over, but this has been ridiculous.

Ron Mexico

June 4th, 2010
11:35 am

And what kind of moron would by some shoes to commemorate his search for a team. What the hell is wrong with this planet. If your dumb enough to by his shoes for his free agent search, then I have this bridge in Brooklyn to sell also.

Ron Mexico

June 4th, 2010
11:37 am

I heard that Delonte West was hooking up with his mom, and that threw Lebron off enough to cost them the play offs this year too. Wonder how hot his mom is?

LAKE SHOW

June 4th, 2010
11:41 am

“Lebron has to do something to upstage Kobe because he sure as hell can’t do it on the court. We should be celebrating the real best player in the game…Kobe Bryant.”

Hello somebody. But this isn’t Lebron’s fault. He wouldn’t be half the ’superstar’ he is if not for the media zealots. What exactly has this guy done to be lauded as one of the greats?? And to whom is he MVP? The Cavaliers? Certainly not the entire NBA. He and his team are the laughing stock of the league for crying out loud. I blame the overzealous commentators, too.

Chris

June 4th, 2010
11:42 am

Complaining about the media attention focused on LeBron by…writing a blog article focusing attention on LeBron.

The ironing is delicious.

LAKE SHOW

June 4th, 2010
11:43 am

Ben

June 4th, 2010
11:52 am

I hate Kobe Bryant. He is egocentric and arrogant. This guy puts him to shame.

[...] LeBron James is hogging the spotlight during NBA finals [...]

Remarkable

June 4th, 2010
11:58 am

Write about the future destruction of the NBA. Is anyone else concerned about this “Free Agent Summit?” How I read this is, “We are all going to get together and decide how much money we all want to make, which team several of us might want to make into a winner (such as when Boston signed Garnett and Allen), and which team(s) gets shafted.” This sounds like collusion to me, but no one has called it yet. Who will care about their teams but the few winners if this continues.

marcus

June 4th, 2010
12:00 pm

lebron is a “hog”! if he would let other players get involved they probably will still be playing. i know atlanta is the new “mecca” for gays and lesbians, but does atlanta police department currently employ “transvestites”? i was walking up spring street and passed a police officer who i thought was a man. the pancake makeup, bigger than life eyelashes made me do a double take. i immediately thought the individual was “undercover” but……

lebron is just like that police officer, what lies beneath the surface is something you really don’t want to know. it’s just like him though, he failed to acknowledge orlando last year, does not want to give his teammates any credit for the past two year’s accomplishments and sold out his coach and does a disservive to his current team by placing himself on the “open market”. if he were true to his craft he’d start working in the offseason to better condition himself and consult with ownership on bringing in the missing pieces. this “king james” crap has gone on long enough, he’s shown to be more of a “judas” than anything else.

GPB

June 4th, 2010
12:01 pm

Who cares about the NBA playoffs? Haven’t they been going on for 6 months already? If it didn’t take so darn long, I might care.

Rufus

June 4th, 2010
12:05 pm

All you Kobe hatter, get a life. Most of you are MJ fans and can’t let go. Go Lakers and Kobe, Kobe.

Another Media Hypocrite

June 4th, 2010
12:09 pm

Jeff,

Your problem has a simple solution. Call all your associates in the media and tell them to stop covering Lebron. Pull down all the Lebron Watch pages on the sports sights. Stop offering your opinions on the subject. Here is a really radical idea! Just wait until he makes a decision. that is what people in the real world do!

Stop complaining and take action if you are so upset by it.

Brett Farve

June 4th, 2010
12:12 pm

How selfish. It’s all about him.

Clay

June 4th, 2010
12:19 pm

All you Kobe hatter …….?? Slow down, Rufus.

Dr. Warren

June 4th, 2010
12:22 pm

Jeff–you wrote that he is visiting New York two times. I think you meant “Chicago” instead of that second New York.

athdog

June 4th, 2010
12:22 pm

Ted Striker,
You said it all. Kobe is a fantastically talented player. I wouldn’t walk acros the street to sit courtside for free to watch him play. Lots of talent in the league, most of it in totally uninteresting to me. Of course, I’m a middle aged white guy whose interest in the NBA lies in the occupants of Phillips arena…and not much interest there, to be honest.

SEC4Life

June 4th, 2010
12:27 pm

Totally agree with G-Money.

I don’t think LBJ is “hijacking” the Finals, but I DO think the media is largely to blame for perpetuating the whole “LeBron Watch 2010.” LeBrick isn’t helping matters by doing these stupid interviews. I mean seriously, Larry King Live? That’s nothing more than someone irrelevant interviewing someone that’s overexposed.

But like someone said previously, we’ve seen this coming for two years now. It just sucks that it’s finally here. David Stern isn’t going to do/say anything b/c LBJ is his cash cow. This was obvious last year when in the aftermath of LBJ leaving the court w/o shaking hands with Magic players, Stern apologized days later ON HIS BEHALF. I knew where Stern stood then.

As for Delonte West, I didn’t want to believe the rumors either until I found this article a week or so ago,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/20/calvin-murphy-lebron-jame_n_583135.html

Jerry West

June 4th, 2010
12:30 pm

“According to Amick, James will visit the New York Knicks first, then New Jersey, then New York

so he’s gonna be a Knick?

LAKE SHOW

June 4th, 2010
12:31 pm

“I hate Kobe Bryant. He is egocentric and arrogant. This guy puts him to shame.”

I hope you weren’t a fan of Jordan.

Until Lebron gets three rings, excuse me, 4 and a possible, he’s putting NO ONE to shame.

Tdawg

June 4th, 2010
12:31 pm

Why not just suspend the NBA finals until Lebron has signed with a team?

LAKE SHOW

June 4th, 2010
12:33 pm

I don’t care where this kid ends up. He’s one of the most overrated players since Mike Vick.