Lebron James’ free agency stirred excitement across the country. People with no interest in basketball suddenly cared where the self-proclaimed King—and possibly this generation’s version of Michael Jordan—would be taking his incredible skills and collecting his millions.
Mothers pushing strollers in the park ditched their usual conversations to weigh in.
“Carol, should I switch the baby over to soymilk? He’s so gassy.”
“Go with soy. More importantly, is Lebron coming to the Knicks?”
Wives approached husbands to voice their opinions.
“Hon, I want to ask you something?”
“No, you don’t look fat in those jeans,” the husband said.
“I was going to ask you, Lebron—Cleveland or Miami? And I’m wearing a dress, moron!”
My wife and kids even joined in on the debate.
“Give it up. He’s not coming to New York.” my wife said matter-of-factly.
“Yeah, Daddy, he’s not coming to the Knicks cause they stink.” My daughter had no clue who Lebron James was and what sport the Knicks played was but was nonetheless steadfast in her opinion , and, unfortunately, accurate about the Knicks.
“I’m unclear. So you’re saying he’s coming to the Knicks?”
She didn’t appreciate my sarcasm so I quickly moved on to a more understanding member of my family, my son.
“CJ, is Lebron James coming to the Knicks?
“Yeah, he’s coming to the Knicks, Dad.”
That’s my boy, I thought to myself. A smile crept across my face.
“No, he’s not coming to the Knicks.”
My smile was quickly erased.
“Who’s Lebron James? Is he a wrestler? You wanna wrestle?” He jumped into his fighting stance.
I didn’t want to wrestle. I wanted to dream about Lebron coming to the Knicks and winning championships. And with the millions he was about to rake in with his new contract, heck, I wanted to be Lebron.
Unfortunately, a few days later James held a one-hour, ego-driven, televised special on ESPN and announced he was going to Miami. My dream was over. The King would be holding court in Florida. Ironically, it was at that point I realized that Lebron and I had much in common.
First, neither of us will ever play for the Knicks. Second, he’s Lebron James and I’m Brad James—my middle name. Third, he can leap 50 inches in the air over 7 foot tall basketball players and I can leap over 7-year-olds. Finally, he calls himself The King while I call myself The King of My Castle, prompting jeers, boos, and uncontrollable laughter from friends and family alike. The similarities between me and the King are eerie.
But there is one major difference between the two of us. I’d never hold a one-hour special announcing my next job; I’m not that egotistical. Of course, no one would want to watch a special where some average Joe like me announces on cable access that he’s accepting a position as an accountant or mid-level manager only to be interrupted by his wife. “Can you take out the garbage, already?”
Guess that’s why he’s the King.
Copyright © 2010, Brad Manzo