What if a self-involved multimillionaire aired a TV special to announce where he'd landed his next multimillion-dollar job, and nobody watched?
We'll never know.
You watched LeBron James.
According to ESPN, its James interview special, titled The Decision, just like it was a real show, which, of course, it was, was Thursday night's highest-rated program—bigger than anything on cable, bigger than any rerun of Glee, CSI and Community, bigger than anything anywhere.
The day after, there are two kinds of people: Those who watched, and are complaining what an empty spectacle it was; and, those who didn't watch, and are complaining what an empty spectacle it was. You know who you are. And, to be honest, if we knew who you were—if we knew who you watchers were—we'd come after you. With a question.
Why did you do it?
Why did you give James every reason to believe, not incorrectly, that, hey, he's not self-involved, he's important?
New York Magazine's Will Leitch has a devastasting piece today on the illusion that is spectator sports. We need air, Leitch essentially argues, but we don't need Monday Night Football, really, truly, we don't. Sure, it's cool when the illusion makes us happy, but when it doesn't, when an athlete's hubris is so great that we're moved to the thesaurus to search out a word like hubris, then why do we keep doing it?
Why do we keep watching?
If you tuned in James last night instead of waiting for the press release—the NBA star is signing with the Miami Heat, and that's all there was too it, folks—you are wearing the biggest "Kick Me" sign in the long, storied history of "Kick Me" signs.
You knew you were going to hate yourself. You knew no reality-show finale would ever leave you feeling so used—for the love of The Bachelor, even Jason Mesnick was forced to squirm for being a snake. And yet you did it anyway.
How about next time let's not. Let's not watch.
Then we'll find out what happens when you don't feed the monster.
Doubtful LeBron's special made an impression with these Laker Lovers.