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Posted by Tony Massarotti, Globe Staff  July 16, 2010 11:36 AM

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The truth, of course, is that we have yet to even begin feeling the impact of the LeBron James decision. That will not come until next fall or next summer, or for the months and years beyond. Nonetheless, James’ act last week clearly struck a nerve in many of us, as evidenced by the fallout.

To wit:

Huss2960 wrote: Massarotti, you do make some interesting points in this article, and I read it for obvious reasons - though I vowed to never read your dribble - but I feel the same way about you now as I did then ... you too are a clown, and packing all media in with you and saying ``shame on us’’ is a typical move for a self-absorbed, self-promoting hack ... yeah Massarotti, you're just like LeBron, sans the money, fame, and powerful ability to steer yourself through life ... James is a clown? ... perhaps; but in this case, it takes one to know one.

TM: Sounds to me like you had your mind my made up before you even read the column in question, but that is certainly your right. For what it’s worth, I wasn’t trying to drag anyone down with me. If you’d rather I sink alone, I’d be happy to do so. Thanks for the note.

proftom wrote: ESPN's coverage was obsessive. LeBron's behavior is narcissistic at best and his actions toward his hometown team and fans was sociopathic. I thought the owner of the Cavilers reaction was brave and needed to be said. The people of Ohio didn't deserve the public humiliation that got. We are very lucky the Sox, Pats, and Celtics send their bad apples to the packing house before they rot our sports culture.

TM: Obviously in total agreement with you on LeBron, but we’ve had our share of self-absorbed narcissists here, too. Trust me on that one. Nonetheless, the culture in Boston has been dramatically different over the last 10 years or so. Whether character facilitates winning – or the other way around – is a chicken-and-egg argument, but there’s no doubt that we have been removed from much of this for many years.

Wait, what about Manny?

usbdas wrote: Tony, you hit the nail on the head once again. The only people more ludicrous than LeBron James were the morons that actually watched the spectacle on TV. I can't imagine my life being so bereft of meaning and things to do and importance that I would sit in front of the TV and watch James tell us where he is going to play basketball. The world to Lebron: 99 percent of us don't give a crap!!! What would be most fitting is if he NEVER wins a championship!!

TM: Clearly, my life is bereft of meaning … and things to do … and importance, if only because I did watch the LeBron infomercial. Then again, I knew those things a long time ago. Thanks for the note.

kmatthew68 wrote: Can anyone imagine Jordan leaving his team to go join some other superstars to help carry the load? I can't. Lebron ain't no Jordan or Magic or Bird.

TM: Amen. Couldn’t have said it better myself. This question gets to the core of LeBron’s competitiveness. Most guys prefer to work for championships because the true value comes in earning it. LeBron seems to regard a championship less as a crusade and more as a necessary ingredient to convince the rest of us of his greatness. What a sad, misguided man.

jphaneuf1 wrote: Really Mazz? You feel that the media should "control" stars and celebrities? REALLY?!?!?! I thought the media's job was to report. Period. Don't elaborate the media's role in this whole thing. The bottom line is, if LeBron had come to you and said, "Hey Mazz, I want you to be the guy interviewing me at my announcement", you would have done it with bells on and probably asked him what to wear. So get off your moral soap box and quit your whining. Boo Hoo, so some people are mad about his actions and his decision. It was going to happen no matter what his decision was. Sports as it existed 30 years ago is DEAD. Times have changed, the rules have changed, players have changed, and fans have changed. Deal with it and move on, and stop lamenting about the old ways.

TM: I’m not lamenting the old ways; I’m lamenting the new ones. And when I was suggesting is that the media has a significant role in any system based on checks and balances. That’s why we exist. We can only report what we learn to be true, which requires the cooperation of sources, etc. Don’t shoot the messenger. Always appreciate any feedback – positive or negative – but do you understand how the system works?

ProSox wrote: Mazz, I think this is the first time you've written a great article.
LeBron really is a Horse's behind.

TM: Chalk it up to the blind squirrel theory. Nothing can bring people together like a common enemy, eh?

brevets wrote:
Mazz, you are the clown. Like it or not, but LeBron is exactly what the NBA needs to fuel interest. HE is not creating a spectacle. WE are fueling it. Get off your high horse and enjoy the show.

TM: Just wondering, is LeBron what the NBA needs or is he what the NBA has? I think there’s a difference there. The NBA has long promoted its stars, which is fine. But that TV show last week brought self-promotion to an embarrassing new level. Going into that charade, I actually thought LeBron was a decent, well-grounded young man. Coming out, I thought he was a buffoon. Even David Stern panned the performance.

brokenbil wrote: Mazz, why are you getting your panties in a wad over this? You act like LeBron James just took a dump on the American flag and ESPN cablecast it. May I remind you that the NBA is an entertainment business. The spectacle of one of it biggest stars announcing his "decision" about which big-money contract he wants to sign for next season is all part of the show. I'm just disappointed that his decision wasn't much of a surprise. How awesome would it have been if he had chosen to go to the Clippers?!? As long as James continues to entertain me on the court, I really don't care what decisions he makes about his career.

TM: I guess that’s the difference between me and you. Some of understand that sports have become synonymous with business and entertainment, but we still like to think of the players as, you know, competitors. Until Thursday, I thought winning was the central, driving force in all sports. That’s why I found the entire episode so sad. James convinced me he is more interested in the entertainment value and the money, not necessarily in that order. He doesn’t see himself as a basketball first, so why should I see him as one?

yamomma wrote: The only clown, Mazz, is you for wasting your time writing an article stating the obvious. You may as well have just written a bunch of paragraphs telling us about how the sky is blue. Who cares about James? Who cares if he is a self-promoting egomaniac? What pro athlete isn't? Tell us something we didn't know. James is one of the premier players in the game. James has already done more than you could ever dream of, Mazz, and he has earned the right to promote himself however he wants, so quit being such a whiney baby all the time.

TM: You’re right. He has the right to promote himself however he wants. And I – along with millions of others – have the right to tell him how foolish he looked. Do you honestly believe that how James announced his decision was good for basketball, professional sports and himself?

hssak1 wrote:
Disagree with most of what was written in this article. A 25- or 26-year-old man or woman today is more mature and more informed than a 30- or 35-year old 10 or 15 years ago. Lebron has proven, at his age, that he is more mature confident and with an ego in check compared to most athletes.

TM: Actually, I think he’s proven the opposite. I think he’s proven he’s less mature. The 25- and 26-year-olds of today might smarter and more knowledgeable than those who preceded them, but maturity is another matter altogether. Maturity comes from perspective and experience, which go hand in hand. Lemme guess: you’re 25?

jkorandanis wrote: Sorry Mazz... you're just another example in a long tradition of Boston sports writers hating superstars. Although I found the coverage to be completely boring, you've glossed over the fact that Lebron raised $2.5 million for Boys & Girls Club last night. Regardless of whether or not he could afford more out of his pocket, at the end of the day, that's something worth praising, not mocking. I'd also like to point out that Lebron is 25 years old. I'll give him a few more years before I declare him a loser. I'm assuming you're about 40, and have never done a thing worth writing about.

TM: Can we please stop giving LeBron credit for raising money for the Boys & Girls Clubs? I mean, how transparent can one man be? As for your suggestion that I’ve never done a thing worth writing about, I have this great thought. And you’re right.

Jakethesnake53 wrote: Tony, as USUAL you wrote a meaningless article! For some reason you are in bed with [Theo] Epstein. How come you don't mention all the lousy trades and over-the-hill players - Smoltz, Penny, Lackey etc. etc!!!!! The paperboy’s spot is open in Andrew Square. Maybe you can sell the Globe on that corner.

TM: Silly, silly man. Nobody reads the paper anymore. Everything is the web, which is why I write for boston.com. Wanna buy a computer? (Thanks for the note.)

getsomerest wrote: Why do you assume that if we beat out Tampa Bay for second place, we win the wildcard? It's just as likely, if not more so, that the wildcard will emerge from the Central Division or, for that matter, even the West.

TM: This is a good point. While I still believe the Wild Card will come from the East, as it almost always does, the idea of two teams emerging from the Central is not farfetched, particularly with the recent surge made by the White Sox. I honestly don’t believe there is any chance the wild card will come from the West, but stranger things certainly have happened. Regardless, you’re right. But if the Sox finish no better than third, they have no shot whatsoever.

EdA wrote: I wouldn't say the John Lackey signing went wrong, but his first half performance was not what we expected. So his performance went wrong not his signing. He still has time to improve in the second half and hopefully into the postseason. We need to wait a year or two before we can judge the signing itself.

TM: For what it’s worth, the comment on Lackey was written in a midseason assessment. Obviously, he has four-and-a-half years remaining on his deal. I never said the Lackey signing was mistake. All I said was that he thus far has failed to live to the deal the Red Sox have given him. I expected more from him, especially after Josh Beckett went down.

mandrake wrote: That bullpen number is deceiving, Mazz. It’s the starters not going deep into games that makes the pen ineffective. I'll take the Sox pen over the Yanks pen any day (with the exception of the great Rivera of course, but to me "closer" is a distinct category from "bullpen"). Look at the innings the Yanks’ starters log, and then consider their 10 pen losses! That is much more disturbing that the Sox' 13 losses in my mind. Much more.

TM: OK, just looked this up. Through 88 games, Yankees starters had pitched about 10 more innings than those of the Red Sox. Were that number, say, 40, I might agree with you. I’m not saying the New York bullpen is good – it isn’t – but the numbers are what they are. Even Papelbon continues to slip. The Red Sox have an absolute issue there.

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Updated: Mar 1, 07:24 AM

About Mazz

Tony Massarotti is a Globe sportswriter and has been writing about sports in Boston for the last 19 years. A lifelong Bostonian, Massarotti graduated from Waltham High School and Tufts University. He was voted the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by his peers in 2000 and 2008 and has been a finalist for the award on several other occasions. This blog won a 2008 EPpy award for "Best Sports Blog".

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