LeLoser Of The Half-Year, LeBron James: You had it all. You were the hometown boy bringing the local team to the cusp of NBA glory and immortality. You were so beloved even President Obama said he was you: “I’m LeBron, baby! I got this.”
But then you quit. You bailed on your Cleveland Cavaliers when the going got tough against the Celtics in the playoffs. Then you deserted them for good in free agency a few weeks later. The irony is your Cavaliers were arguably the best team in the league last year. Everyone just got hurt, including your own elbow—now closing in on 17,000 followers on Twitter. But you didn’t just bail on your home-state, you opted to dump Ohio on the grandest stage possible. You arranged an ESPN made-for-TV event dubbed “The Decision” to announce you would be “taking [your] talents to the South Beach”.
Admit it. You were afraid you’d be another Kevin Garnett. A.k.a. a freakish, high-school-straight-to-the-pros prodigy who let his prime years go to waste for an also-ran team in the Midwest. You panicked about the rings. Jordan won 6. Kobe now has 5. DWade, 1. You have 0.
And LeBacklash began. You, with the Akron area code inked on your arm had to flee your own state. Cleveland fans are burning your jersey. There’s now even a beer named after you. Great Lakes Brewing Co. created “Quitness”, a dry hopped India pale ale that leaves an appropriately bitter aftertaste. The most recent batch sold out in three hours—almost as quickly as LeBron did.
So now we are all witnesses … to a sidekick in Miami. The Heat will always be Dwyane Wade’s team. He already brought Miami a championship, and now he miraculously recruited the top two players on the market to join him. LeBron will merely be the super-star who couldn’t win one with the cards he was dealt and bailed for the better hand. In baseball terms, LeBron will be the Alex Rodriguez to Dwyane Wade’s Derek Jeter.
In Star Wars terms, LeBron is now Anakin Skywalker. He switched to the Dark Side under the lure of the Evil Emperor (Pat Riley). But fortunately for the small market NBA team Jedi, there is one more. The day before LeBron admitted he couldn’t win a ring by himself, Kevin Durant quietly tweeted his 5 year extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant is the Luke Skywalker for the small-market team trying to compete with the massive media markets. Last season, Durant became the youngest scoring champ in NBA history, pushed the eventual champion LA Lakers to seven games, and flashed a Jordanian canny to score at will.
Back in Michael Jordan’s day, he just took out a page in the Chicago Tribune saying he was back. Now His Airness is pillorying LeBron for jumping ship, saying in his day he would never imagine teaming up with his nemesis Detroit “Bad Boys” Pistons. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wouldn’t even speak to each other during their storied 1980s rivalry. The NBA just isn’t that a) talented and b) hard these days. Now LeBron bikes around with Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in Beijing.
For taking the easy way out. For slamming your legacy harder than one of your trademark Tomahawk jams, LeBron James is 2010’s Worst Person Of The Half-Year.
#2: Summer Movies Not Named “Inception”:
a) “Grown Ups” (Rotten Tomato Rating: 10%)
Dear Adam Sandler & Chris Rock,
You are both legitimately funny and worth hundreds of millions of dollars. So aren’t you past the point in your careers where you need to work with David Spade and the Fat Guy from the “King of Queens”?
b) “Prince Of Persia” (Rotten Tomato Rating: 37%)
Why is the Prince of Persia a white guy (Jake Gyllenhaal) faking an English accent?
c) “Sex & The City 2” (Rotten Tomato Ranking: 16%)
In the words of Lindy West from The Stranger, “If this is what modern womanhood means, then just f—ing veil me and sew up all my holes. Good night.”
#3 Arizona: “I was also going to give a graduation speech in Arizona this weekend. But with my accent, I was afraid they would try to deport me.” –Terminator-turned-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
#4 NBC: Let’s see. You lost over $200 million dollars on the Vancouver Winter Olympics this February. You lost another $35 million inadvertently making a martyr out of Conan O’Brien a month later. You then brought back Jay Leno… to only get worse ratings than ever.
Even President Obama can rip on you: “Though I am glad that the only person whose ratings fell more than mine last year is here tonight. Great to see you Jay. I’m also glad that I’m speaking first. We’ve all seen what happens when somebody takes the time slot after Leno’s.” It got so bad a Taiwanese news station simulated a wrestling cartoon match with Jeff Zucker & Jay Leno tag-teaming Conan O’Brien & Jimmy Kimmel:
#5: Snoop Dogg: To film your latest music video, you just tried to rent Liechtenstein. As in an entire sovereign country. Smoke more weed, Snoop Dogg. Seriously. Smoke more weed.
#6 Glenn Beck: You’ve cried away 50% your audience. News Corp. Inc has had to buy up over half of your ad spots after you called President Obama a Nazi. And Jon Stewart skewered you in one of the most pitch-perfect impersonations ever.
#7 President Obama: The man heralded as the most promising politician since Robert F. Kennedy is starting to look a lot like… Black Cinderella.
The President misread his sweeping 2008 election as a mandate for federal activism. Except Americans didn’t want a more involved government. They just didn’t want George W. Bush, or 95% of him in John McCain. And yes, Obama got a little caught up in the “Change” election fever. Lobbyists not only stock his administration, but remember the iconic Hope poster than captured the nation’s imagination in 2008? It was sold to a museum by two lobbyists and is now a work of satire.
Yes, Obama dithers. Save for health-care reform, the cerebral Professor-In-Chief doesn’t have his Cheerleader-In-Chief predecessor’s brazen gung ho to just ram legislation through. Obama holds office hours, not pep rallies. Obama’s Afghanistan decision took painfully long and isn’t working. His response to the Gulf Oil Leak has been judged worse than President George “Brownie’s doing a heckuva job” W. Bush’s to Hurricane Katrina. For the first time, less than half the country approves of President Obama. But the clock hasn’t struck midnight on Black Cinderella.
Don’t tell the former half-term-Governor-from-Alaska-turned-Wannabe-White-Oprah but President Obama’s tanking approval ratings mirror those of her idol—Ronald Reagan. Like Reagan, President Obama is an outside-the-Beltway, eloquent President who inherited the office in a time of dire economic conditions and war. Like Reagan, President Obama is liked more for his personality than his actual policies.
Spoiler Alert I: Reagan’s popularity plummeted to a low of 42 percent in 1982, and Republicans lost 26 seats in the House of Representatives in the mid-term election. Spoiler Alert II: The economy recovered. President Reagan went on to land-slide the 1984 re-election bid and became one of the most popular presidents in recent memory.
Dishonorable Mention: Baltimore Orioles, Europe, The French World Cup Team, “Girls Busch Girls” (The ladies’ ridiculously lame rebuttal to “Bros Icing Bros”), “Jersey Shore 2” (I’m calling it now), Jesse James (REAAALLY? You’re married to Sandra Bullock!), Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus (The tail-spin Britney Spears trajectory begins), and Tiger Woods.
And Finally The Getting Beer Fail Of The Half-Year: True, this incident occurred last October, but something tells me this fella still can’t tell the difference:
This is the second-part of a two part series reviewing 2010 half-year. See the first part here: The 2010 Half-Year In Review.