Hey-oooooo! Talk about a story made for the headline writers. In fact, maybe that's the only reason LeBron "King" James decided to be interview on Larry King this Friday. Or maybe that's the only reason Larry King wanted to interview him. They've got similar names, see.
In any case, this Friday, we can look forward to the
best player in basketball reigning MVP answering hard-hitting questions from one of the media's most grizzled interview vets:
KING: Do you lean at all toward the place you know the best? I mean do they have an edge going in...
JAMES: Oh, absolutely.
KING: ...your home team?
JAMES: Absolutely. Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it's comfortable. So I've got a lot of memories here. And - and so it does have an edge.
For Larry King, this represents a tacit admission to his show's waning relevance. There was a time when "Larry King Live" tackled the most important issues of the day. But now, for "issues of the day," we've got 1,000 different options to choose from, and King's no longer the only interview that matters. So why not go for a splash, tackling the biggest story in sports this summer? Good for him.
As for LeBron, it depends on your perspective. This either confirms his narcissism—traditionally, free agents wait until the playoffs are over to talk openly about free agency—or proves his unmatched crossover appeal—sneer at King's dwindling profile if you want, but "Larry King Live" is still a benchmark for any celebrity icon. I'd lean to the former perspective, with a little dash of "He still doesn't get it."
If I were LeBron James, I'd be brooding right now, watching Kobe reaffirm his preeminence over the NBA, while punchlines linger from all the jokes at "King" James' expense a few weeks ago. But, see... I'm not LeBron James. None of us are. We'd all be better off if we stopped judging him as if we were walking in his ugly-ass signature Nikes.
From afar, though, we can say this much: LeBron James has shown over and over that for LeBron, these "celebrity" benchmarks hold equal interest to those of the basketball court. And that's fine.
But just as Larry King's decision to invite LeBron onto his show demonstrates shifting priorities, LeBron's decision to accept hints that his might never change. We can't really judge either one, except to say... Maybe neither man is as important as we once thought they were.