Friday, February 20, 2009

Mystique Through Avoidance

I'm taking a break from my yin/yang series. It's not because I'm stuck, because I have at least seven more parts to it, but rather so Money Mike and his form/function series can catch up. But before I get into my latest brainstorm, I must pay respect where respect is due. Alexander Ovechkin is, pound for pound, the most fake athlete in sports. But is it less fake or more fake when he has two similarly impossible goals? You be the judge. Anyway, to the post...

Before the chaos of the summer of 2010 gets underway, Basketball fans are anticipating next year's dunk contest; in which The Royal King James has apparently decided to descend from his throne and showcase his otherworldly athleticism in the spirit of fun. For those of you that are believing that fallacy, then allow me to save you some heartbreak. The odds of Lebron participating in a dunk contest are slim, if none. There are many reasons why, and you guessed it, they're outlined after the random pic...

Allow me to preface this with MJ. Those that believe Lebron's declaration cite that, "Jordan was in the dunk contest, and he was the G.O.A.T." True and true, but not even MJ had the same path towards stardom that Lebron enjoys. When Jordan entered the Association, he wasn't anointed as The One—primarily because Bird and Magic were at the peak of their titan-like rivalry and the League didn't need another torch-bearer just yet. Through uncanny work ethic and sheer will to be The Best, he bullied his way into the highest of Hoops echelons. Yes, he was blessed with natural gifts, but he had to snatch his crown.

Conversely, Lebron was anointed from his St. Vincent, St. Mary days. He forced the invocation of having high school games on national TV to justify broadcasting his games on Pay-Per-View. His nickname of The Chosen One was bluntly literal, and ever since 2003, he's been the face of the NBA for the new millennium—whether he was amazing or not. Of course he's amazing. And while until this season, Kobe has been the premier perimeter player and still leads in global jersey sales, it's obvious that James has been selected to be the definition of NBA.

So what does this have to do with the 2010 All-Star Weekend? Observe The Lebrons commericial in which they hold a backyard dunk contest. Athlete Lebron says, "He doesn't really do dunk contests," but it's Business who provides the true insight into how Lebron really feels about spontaneous displays of awesome. "Dunk contests are bourgeois." Lebron is building a genuine Baskeball empire, and anything that could hinder it—even slightly—is merely a distraction from his ultimate goal: global icon status. What's even more frustrating to fans is that in pre-game warm-ups, he puts on performances that leave us wondering, "Why not in February?"

The reason why I believe it won't happen is because he already has mystique. As I said, with MJ, he sort of had to create his greatness aura. Yes, he had accolades on his college resume, but he wasn't treasured as the rare gem until "The Layup." Lebron's mystique partly lies in the fact that he hasn't been in a dunk contest. As I heard on TV once, "He has the lure of being the greatest dunk contest dunker...without ever dunking." Does he feel that even he couldn't compete with those acrobatic free-spirits that love to spread their wings? Maybe.
Back on the Vince post, I stated that Carter's dunks are his exertion of dunking. I feel that when Lebron takes flight, it's a physical declaration that his might is untouched—that he is a god among immortals. While Kobe and MJ are Almighty tacticians through repetition and acquiring of more skill, Lebron is a sculpted supreme being, crafted from the Heavens with the powers of every aspect of the Basketball Realm within arm's reach. Winning a dunk contest wouldn't add to his legacy because he's created a portion of his legacy through not competing. And that may be a little more gratifying. I'll believe it when they announce his name in Dallas.


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