By: Paul Manzey
LeBron James has made it known that he will announce his free agency decision on Thursday evening at 9 EST. This is just what ESPN needs, a little more hype getting ready for one of the biggest decisions of the year.
I do not think this will be a shocking decision one way or another. If he stays in Cleveland, Cavalier fans will be happy and will tell everyone they knew this was coming the whole time. If he goes to Chicago, Miami, New York or New Jersey, he will be following the money to a place he thinks he can nurture the “LeBron Brand”. I guess there would be one surprise and that would be LeBron choosing the weaker sister of the Los Angeles teams, the Clippers. I would put the odds of this happening at less than 1%, but stranger things have happened in sports.
The losers in all of this commotion: the players who will be suiting up for the Major League Lacrosse All Star game, which is scheduled to be aired on ESPN2 during this make-shift ESPN special. I’m not going to argue that ESPN should not take advantage of this highly anticipated occasion, but they already had a special for the beginning of the free agency period, knowing full well that players could not officially sign until Thursday. I think a lot of people are getting sick of all of this basketball speculation. NBA games will not start for another three months or so, and the summer league has become and after thought because of all of the hype given to the free agents. For those of you who have not followed the summer league, Luke Harangody looks like he is playing his sophomore and junior seasons all over again, dominating the competition in the two games he has appeared in.
I’m sorry that the MLL players will receive a number lower than 1 on the Nielsen Ratings scaler. They had a chance to garner at least an average audience, but now that LeBron will be taking ESPN over on Thursday night, they will be lucky if people switch over to ESPN2 on commercial breaks. I hope this special is worth all of the advertising and hype it will receive in the next couple of days. Wouldn’t it be a shame if all of the big teams stayed just about the same and all of the players decided to be loyal to the teams that drafted them? It could happen.