Now playing on Twitter: the LeBron James unintentional comedy festival
Some lucky guy in America has a choice of potential employers, all desperate to overpay him, and now he's bragging about it on Twitter.
That individual, in case you have been living under a large rock or you really, really don't follow professional sports, is NBA star LeBron James. He has announced that he will announce his next team tonight--in an hour-long, primetime ESPN special, no less.
James, apparently worried that his choice would go uncovered by the traditional media, opened a Twitter account, "KingJames," a few days ago. This morning, he used his fourth tweet ever to invite feedback:
Good Morning! It's your chance to ask me a question about my decision, use #lebrondecision to submit and I'll answer them tonight.
Well, as some of you may have observed, the Internet is a wonderful medium for sarcasm. So amidst the expected "stay in Cleveland!" or "come to New York!" entreaties and foul-mouthed insults from sports fans elsewhere, other Twitter users have recognized the absurdity of the situation and reacted appropriately:
(Sadly, this gem's effect has been dimmed by Twitter spammers repeatedly retweeting it.)
(That's from the fake Gary Busey Twitter account. It's unclear what the real veteran character actor thinks about the situation.)
And there have been multiple variations of this tweet: "[wireless phone manufacturer or carrier] just released a new Lebron James phone. It only vibrates, because it has no ring."
James might have wanted to check in first with such earlier experimenters in social-media marketing as Chevrolet, which four years ago invited Web users to remix a commercial for its Chevy Tahoe SUV. Users responded by putting together ads that touted the truck's role in sprawl, global warming, aggressive driving and "everything but running down the Pillsbury Doughboy," as Wired put it.
In this case, the silliness should pass tonight, and tomorrow we can find somebody else's egomaniacal narcissism to mock online. Until then, I'll make one other suggestion: Log off Twitter for the evening. Either the chatter about James' choice of employer will grow intolerable, or Twitter will crumple under the traffic first.
(OK, I suppose I should offer my own meaningless and uninformed suggestions about who James should play for. I dislike the Knicks almost as much as the truly insufferable Lakers and don't care for the Bulls or the Heat either; meanwhile, a bunch of my relatives live in the suburbs of Cleveland, and as sports fans they've all suffered enough. So Cleveland it should be--as long as paying James' exorbitant salary doesn't send the Cavaliers to Chapter 11 instead of a championship. But if you want any sort of expert insight, read Mike Wise's column instead.)
7/9, 10:47 a.m.: As tragically few news outlets have reported, LeBron James is going to the Miami Heat. I do not think you will find a more eloquent summary of this development than the front page of today's Cleveland Plain Dealer.
July 8, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories: Digital culture , Social media
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