Dateline July 2031:
Today marks the 10th anniversary of The Announcement — coming 10 years to the day of The Decision — that Aliens are real. Turns out they have long been among us and possess a bizarre sense of humor. LeBron James represented their first public foray. Afterwards, many pretended they suspected all along. It’s hard to remember what it was like before The Announcement, so a little perspective on what unfolded back then is in order.
Dateline July 2021:
When the Miami Heat captured their 10th consecutive NBA championship and tweeted that LeBron James had a special announcement, retirement, not earth-shattering [literally], news was the expectation. The news conference was expected to be a bittersweet affair. Although James had fulfilled his once mercilessly-mocked estimate of expected NBA championships [not one, not two etc ...], all knew that it had come with a heavy human toll.
In the Big 3’s 4th year together, Chris Bosh had been killed in a suspicious gardening accident. Going into their 6th year together, Dwyane Wade had been gunned down during an NBA pre-season game by the Serbian-born uncle of a referee who Wade had attacked following his 2nd palming violation of the 1st quarter. Pat Riley had not been seen publicly since taking a meeting with LeBron’s people in 2013 after the Spoelstra extension. Whispers of Dorian Gray began to follow James.
Indirectly, the Miami Heat’s success carried an even heavier human toll during the era James was still thought of as human (commonly referred to as the LeBron hating years). Here is a partial rundown:
- Stephen A. Smith was diagnosed with advanced dementia during the Heat’s 2nd championship season. The condition was discovered when Smith began berating relatives at a Thanksgiving dinner as the “worst old people in the world.” The situation highlighted the fine line between what passed for expert sports commentary and mental illness.
- Skip Bayless on-air suicide immediately following the Heat’s 3rd consecutive championship [although some claim that plummeting ratings the more likely culprit].
- Ric Bucher’s firing and subsequent failed discrimination lawsuit against ESPN. Bucher’s low point came when he cried out from the witness stand, “since when did metrosexuality become a crime.”
- Chris Broussard sustained massive leg injuries when he jumped in front of what he assumed was LeBron James’ speeding Maserati. It was seen as a desperate cry for attention since James was no longer responding to his tweets.
- Jon Barry was cryogenically frozen after the Heat’s 7th championship by father Rick [still unhired by any NBA team to do anything]. The Barry family vowed not to let Jon emerge until the Heat were stopped. Cynics referred to the move as the ‘For Coroners strategy.’
- Michael Wilbon’s career had the oddest twist. Wilbon was hired away from ESPN by a private company to provide commentary on a wide variety of issues. However, it was soon exposed to be part of a bizarre programming network geared to people who enjoyed being tortured and humiliated. The Society to Mainstream Sadism immediately distanced themselves from the the company for having gone too far with the Wilbon channel.