Sportress of Blogitude

Stop The LeBronsanity: SportsCenter Set To Air Three-Part Series About James

You know, I should just stop paying attention. I should let go and stop allowing ESPN to get me all worked up with all this LeBron James nonsense. But goddammit, ESPN keeps pulling crap which is so friggin’ irritating I cannot help but become so annoyed by the whole dog and pony show that I cannot help it. Maybe if we ignored it, the farce that has become ESPN’s coverage of LeBron James would simply go away, but I doubt it.

Since ESPN originally planned on devoting only 20% of total airtime over the next three days on episodes of SportsCenter talking about, analyzing and, more or less, deifying James, the powers-that-be came up with an interesting way in which to further propagate the advancement of its cause: establishing a wholly media-driven Cult of LeBron. How does this sound? A three-part series all about King James. Whee!

The series began yesterday, runs through tomorrow and premieres every morning during the 9:00 a.m. EST edition of SportsCenter, although I’m fairly confident the spots will be rerun ad nauseum. A complete breakdown of what has already been aired and what is to come follows.

Via ESPN Media Zone:

Poll: Fans’ Attitude Toward LeBron (today ed. note: Wednesday)

By the time Lebron James’ “Decision” made him a reality in Miami, he was facing a national barrage of harsh editorial criticism. An ESPN/Seton Hall sports poll of more than 900 people taken the first week of October gauged the fans’ attitude toward James.

* View James Favorably: white fans 32% black fans 65%

* James leaving Cleveland had no impact on how fans view him: 51.6%

“He’ll never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation. There would have been something honorable about staying in Cleveland and trying to win as ‘The Man.’” – Charles Barkley

Lebron’s Reputation: Marketing and Legacy after “The Decision” (Thursday)

According to Q Scores, which tracks the appeal of celebrities, James’ likability was highest last January (fourth among active athletes behind Peyton Manning, Troy Polamalu , Brett Favre). Last month, he ranked 78.

* In ticket sales, the top five NBA games in 2010-11 are Heat games — StubHub

* Miami home game ticket sales are up 300% from last year – StubHub

* In the past month, Heat merchandise generated 5 times more revenue than the same period last year — Princeton Retail Analysis

“I think what he did was wrong: he announced it, he made a spectacle of it, and I think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. However, from a business standpoint it was brilliant…He became the NBA conversation, and he has hurdled his brand forward in ways that are immeasurable today.” — Ed O’Hara, sr. partner SME Marketing

The Spurned City: How Clevelanders are Dealing with James’ Departure (Friday)

A book Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote dealing with loss outlined the five stages individuals go through when dealing with grief and tragedy. After losing the icon of their city, Cleveland citizens are still reeling from “The Decision.”

Denial

“It was like the people’s faces were like they saw a ghost. I don’t know if everyone stopped breathing at once, but a silence came over the bowling alley, just like the end of the world.” – Jarrett Jones

Anger

“My office is nothing but Lebron James and Cleveland Cavaliers. You couldn’t even see the floor. The day after ‘The Decision,’ I came to work and I took every last piece of Lebron James, I put it in a garbage bag and I took it out back to the dumpster.” – Don Crump

Depression

‘If my dog would have died earlier that day, I would have probably been more depressed about LeBron leaving Cleveland than I was about my dog dying.” – John Liberatore

Bargaining

“This city has been hurt before by athletes leaving. And, we lost the Cleveland Browns. I mean, we lost a team, and it came back. We’ll survive without LeBron James.” – Mike Sokolowski

Acceptance

“I think he (James) will go down as worse than Art Modell as far as this city goes. I think he will end up worse than Art Model, and Art Model still isn’t welcomed back to Cleveland.” – Calvin Painter

Gag. And here I thought “The Heat Index” was going to be a colossal annoyance. I look forward to SportsCenter‘s continuing coverage of LeBronomania with a three-part series on the three-part series analyzing how the original three-part series impacted the issues covered in the original three-part series. It’s going to be a real treat.

SportsCenter 3-Part Lebron James Series Includes Poll [ESPN Media Zone]