When egos collide

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (which is fortunate in my case, because I’m not one) to figure out that most pro athletes today are a bit on the, um, “spoiled” side. Which is no surprise either, considering the millions of dollars athletes are paid annually to do things that most of us grew up doing (for free, BTW). That’s not a knock on these guys and gals either, because to really make it in professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey – as well as a few other “major” sports – you literally have to possess one-in-a-million type talent.

Add to that the manner in which we fans shower our local heroes with adoration: stand in lines – sometimes for hours – simply to get their autograph (personally, something I never really understood, but that’s just me). Or spontaneously spending little Billy’s college fund to get a Brandon Weeden jersey. (Admit it: you feel kind of silly now about that one, don’t you?) We blame everyone but the athlete when our favorite hero runs afoul of the law. We do everything we can to keep our idol on that pedestal, too. The point being, of course, is that we treat our sports heroes like gods. It starts in high school (in some cases, much earlier) and intensifies as they progress through college and – for the lucky ones, anyway – into the pros.

So, when you really, really think about it, it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise when Cavs star Kyrie Irving confessed that he was tired of playing second fiddle to the main fiddler, LeBron James (who has just a bit of star appeal himself, in case you hadn’t noticed). Evidently, three trips to the NBA Finals in three years – not to mention an NBA championship – isn’t quite good enough for Kyrie. Apparently that LeBron fellow is keeping him down.

Egos can be a dangerous thing, can’t they? So who, you may ask, is the real problem – who has the biggest ego here? Is it Kyrie, who apparently just isn’t getting the proper measure of respect thanks to that nogoodnik LeBron James? Or is it LeBron himself, who – as everyone knows – has a hand in just about everything the Cavs do, from making trades to selling cotton candy?

Well, guess what? It’s neither Kyrie nor LeBron. Sure, they’re multi-millionaires, but that’s chump change when you stack their money against Dan Gilbert’s. I mean, this guy’s supposedly quadrupled his net worth over the last few years. Yes, he’s gone from a few billion to many billions. Yes, that's plural: billions.

Daffy Dan’s ego was bruised when general manager David Griffin had the audacity to demand the kind of money top GMs (you know, the kind that get their teams in the Finals three consecutive years) get. Apparently, billionaires don't like that kind of tomfoolery, so Griffin just had to go. As a result, panic has set in on the Good Ship Lollipop (formerly known as the Cleveland Cavs).

Kyrie knows that LeBron will now likely leave after next season, and Kyrie doesn’t want to be left holding the proverbial bag (he did that when he was drafted after LeBron left the first time, and the results were not pretty). So Kyrie’s simply being proactive, and fleeing the ship before it takes on too much water. Can't say that I blame him.

And, just a thought regarding the too much water/sinking ship analogy: when Kyrie is traded and signs elsewhere, will that be called “bail” money?

Jeff Bing

Lifelong Westlake resident who dabbles in writing whenever the real world permits. My forte is humor and horror...What a combo!

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Volume 9, Issue 15, Posted 9:27 AM, 08.01.2017