Who Was LeBron James?
Leonard Pitts Jr.
(c) Dana Summers
An open letter to 24th-century historians.
I've left this note for you as a public service. Three hundred years from now, when you study the things that dominated American thought in the summer of 2010, I suspect one pressing question will rise above all others:
Who the heck was
I'm here to answer that for you but first, let me say how very cool it is (cool was a slang term we used to indicate that a thing was good) to find myself addressing you like this. The idea that you might stumble across these words in some archive of the future, that you might be reading this letter (or absorbing it through your skin or however it is you process text in your era, assuming you still do) long after I am dead fills me with questions. I wonder:
What is the state of health care in 2310?
Is interplanetary travel now routine?
Did BP ever get that oil leak fixed?
Of course, unless you've invented time travel (you haven't, have you?) there's no way for you to answer my questions. So let me get down to business and answer yours.
Some of you probably think he was a wizard, a mystic, or some minor league deity. You'd base that conclusion on press reports indicating that his decision to withdraw himself from a place called "Cleveland" left that region staggering, devastated, bereft of its civic will to live and ripe for plundering by roving bands of "
Some of you probably think he was a great general who betrayed his own troops in battle. You'd base that conclusion on a letter a man named
Some of you probably think he was a human rights icon who took some bold stand for freedom. You'd base that conclusion on a statement from a man named
Some of you have no idea who he was, but from the way we in this era couldn't stop talking about him, from all the anger, argument and invective his name stirred, you believe he must have been a figure of transformational importance in world history. He wasn't.
And yes, I'll keep my promise to answer your question, but I have to say, the answer is embarrassing. It speaks to the propensity we had in my era for aggrandizing the trivial. And to our tendency to lose all perspective. And to our occasional inability to tell the difference between that which diverts or amuses us and that which defines our entire self-worth.
So, who was
He was a basketball player. In the summer of 2010, he announced his decision to leave a team that played in "Cleveland" to join another in a city called "
To anticipate your next question: basketball was a game invented by a man named
Available at Amazon.com:
- Yankees' George Steinbrenner is gone; his creation lives on
- Lebron James Will Regret Leaving Mediocre Team
- One More Thing About LeBron James: Enough Already!
- Who Was LeBron James?
- LeBron James - Cleveland, Jilted
- George Steinbrenner Helped Revolutionize Baseball
- Perfect Reaction to an Imperfect Call
- World Cup Soccer Can Have Political Impact
(c) 2010 Leonard Pitts Jr.