Posted by Sekou Smith
HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — You knew it would come to this.
A relatively zany process turned upside down by the three-ring circus that is all things LeBron James in July.
A prime time announcement on ESPN to announce (and surely not explain) where it is James will sign as the headliner of the greatest free agent frenzy/fiasco of all-time.
It was great seeing Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh beat him to the punch before James makes his way to the big stage for his 9 p.m. announcement Thursday night.
But this whole process still seems a bit too choreographed for us.
This prime-time schedule being kept by LeBron could turn into a prime mess by Thursday night — don’t you need more than a day to coordinate, prep, prime and produce a prime time special?
At least one expert in the field has some interesting suggestions for the LeBron-athon. Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com has some theories as to how James and ESPN should fill the hour:
Obviously, the easy way to go is “The Bachelor.” ESPN and ABC are part of the same corporate family, and I’m sure they could borrow Chris Harrison to talk about LeBron’s journey and, before each commercial break, exclaim, “Coming up… the most shocking free agent announcement ever!” We fill a lot of the hour with John Paxson, Donnie Walsh, Jay-Z, etc. all talking about how well their pitch meeting with LeBron went, how they felt there was a chemistry there, perhaps CGI up some footage of LeBron hanging with them all in a hot tub, etc., before everyone’s brought out on stage in formalwear as LeBron brings out his one and only rose.
Or we could go the “American Idol” route. Ryan Seacrest would never turn down a gig, and he could spend at least half the time moving Walsh, Pat Riley and the others around and around the stage in different combinations, declaring one group “safe” and one not. Put together a panel of ESPN personalities as a judges’ table – it’s a shame Stephen A. Smith no longer works there, as he’d be an ideal Randy analogue, and given how much Michael Wilbon hates “Idol,” he’d be in a perfectly cranky mood to play Simon – to speculate on LeBron’s choice throughout. Finally, with four minutes to go, LeBron reveals his choice, balloons and streamers drop, and the losing GM’s are serenaded with Daniel Powter‘s “Bad Day” while Kelly Clarkson makes a dramatic return to greet the winning team with “A Moment Like This.”
And there’s always “America’s Next Top Model.” No need to actually call in Tyra (though I’d enjoy watching her tell Riley how to smize). Instead, put LeBron, Maverick Carter and the rest of the entourage on a dais and have the six finalists parade up and down a runway, followed by criticism of their walks, their presentations, their wardrobes (one anonymous, later redacted report said LeBron was put off by Knicks owner James Dolan‘s appearance and by Walsh being in a wheelchair due to neck surgery) and their team rosters. At the end of it, LeBron announces, “I have one team logo in my hands…”
Now, most of these shows are in some way copying “Survivor,” so I could see LeBron bringing in Jeff Probst to reside over a special Akron-based final Tribal Council, where the remaining candidates plead their case for a posse made up of LeBron and his crew. During the question and answer period, LeBron might try to keep the audience guessing by pulling the old “Pick a number” trick from seasons one and three. Worldwide Wes (if he’s still in the LeBrontourage) could ask shady, gigantic Russian billionaire Nets owner Mikhail Prokohorov to explain why the other finalists don’t deserve to win. And somebody (agent Leon Rose, maybe?) would have to trot out a variation of “My question is, I WANT AN APOLOGY!” At the end, Probst reads a list of votes from the entourage, then says that “LeBron has spoken.”
This is hilarious stuff.
And it all of that works for us here at the hideout.
Anything that has the makings of train-wreck TV works for us.
(Though we must commend James and his camp for making sure that there some charity work being done here!)