Although I won’t indulge in much cross-collateral posting of my Fox Sports columns, the news that Cleveland star LeBron James will announce his free-agency plans live on ESPN is yet another sign that our TV networks have too much time to fill and that our priorities are out of whack.
As I stated in the Fox piece, moreover, there is a Hollywood tie-in to all this, given the $100-million signings getting reported on by the day. To quote, um, myself:
Granted, this unprecedented wave of free agency happened to coincide
with a stretch where not much else was happening. Still, even if sports
represent our collective sandbox, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some
perspective about the crazy figures being tossed around? Think about
Amar’e Stoudemire — who played so little defense in the playoffs versus
Gasol resembled Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his prime — receiving a
$100-million contract relative to the teachers, cops and firefighters
our cash-strapped cities are currently struggling to pay.
Even in Hollywood, entertainers and those who employ them recognize
that bragging about ostentatious salaries isn’t really good for
business. Yet here were these owners, almost literally backing up money
trucks (OK, money SUVs) — even as they strategize over how to plead
poverty in future collective bargaining negotiations.
I mean, everybody heard Charlie Sheen was making a ton of money to stay with “Two and a Half Men,” but you didn’t see Sheen’s agent and publicist and the good folks at CBS and Warner Bros. sending out press releases bragging about how fabulously compensated he is.
Imagine if they did. “We just want to put the best team out on the court and give maximum effort every Monday night,” CBS’ Nina Tassler would say. “And to do that, we have to sign the best available talent. Charlie is the kind of franchise player we need to be competitive in this league. And once he stops losing cars down the canyon, we think he’s poised to have a terrific season.”
Wherever James chooses to land, please wake me when it’s over.