The Clippers beat the Heat last night; Blake Griffin’s rookie season has been nothing short of majestic so far, but a win like this makes you think even bigger.
What if the bombastic power forward, whose numbers project a Hall of Fame career, and whose highlights have already taken over the league, actually made his team into a force to be reckoned with?
Except in the middle of what might be LA(b)’s most important victory of the year, we were treated to a discussion of LeBron James’s Twitter. On the Clippers local feed, no less.
This time, the subject was James’s commentary on the Cavs’ Tuesday loss that “Karma is b****. Gets you every time!” LeBron refuses to take credit for it, claiming that someone else wrote it and he passed it on. Before the game, he was noticeably tense as reporters refused to drop it.
James is bland to the point of offensiveness. His Twitter, which shows real emotion and occasionally steps on people’s toes, has been a source of endless fascination. It follows the same untoward impulses that, we like to think, were behind the eff-you masterstroke that was “The Decision”. The question is whether we’re getting LeBron’s poorly-behaved id; the self-conscious villain he has often spoken about becoming; or just another case of James’s tone-deafness.
However, this debate misses the larger point. Just as “The Decision” turned LeBron James into a cultural phenomenon, perhaps bigger than he ever was as the league’s most beloved player, this Twitter account has taken on a life of its own. It’s not only a cipher — it’s another platform not for image-grooming, but for generating fan attention.
LeBron James might have the most scrutinized Twitter feed this side of Kanye West. And, like Kanye’s, his can create a story where there was none, or alter the news cycle in 140 characters.
We’ve been trying to interpret LeBron’s tweets as a function of a person, maybe even one struggling against the constraints of his superstar life. We might do better to look at it as yet another engine of publicity — one that, like his “What Should I Do?” Nike ad, is equal parts honesty, paradox, and riddle for fans to pore over.
When James attempts to disown or deny it, he gets the benefit of distancing his real self from Twitter (however unconvincingly) while further stoking the flames.
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