Perhaps the truest, most telling words from the whole hourlong LeBron-a-thon aka "The Decision" Thursday were, remarkably enough, spoken by ESPN’s Stuart Scott.
"In the history of the league we have never seen this," Scott noted breathlessly. Correct, but not in the sycophantic way he apparently meant because train wrecks usually aren’t shown on prime-time TV.
But this one was, so let’s sort though the carnage and pluck out the winners and mourn the losers. And hope, so help the Federal Communications Commission, it never happens again.
Tom Izzo: The breeze that swept through East Lansing, Mich., on Thursday night was the Michigan State coach’s relief that he didn’t take the Cavs’ job last month. Phew!
Kobe Bryant: The most polarizing NBA figure just became No. 2 thanks to James. Is a thank-you card in order?
Carmelo Anthony: No matter what he does with his free-agent opportunity next year it can’t be as big a disaster as what James came up with.
Tiger Woods: Moved down the roster of sports’ reigning heels as James shot right past him.
Art Modell: Incredibly, the man who moved the Browns to Baltimore now has competition for the title of "most hated man" in Cleveland.
Pat Riley: The Heat’s general manager wheels and deals himself onto center stage. How long can it be before he names himself head coach?
L.A. Lakers: How often can it be said that a two-time defending NBA champion enters a season with somebody else wearing the bull’s-eye?
ESPN: Largest audience ever for a "news" program on the network. Schlock sells. Big.
Kevin Durant. Tweeted his choice of sticking with Oklahoma City. Betcha James’ people now wish they had thought of that.
Stephen A. Smith: Called the "done deal" shot on James’ choice of teams 10 days before it was announced.
Jake Taylor and Ricky Vaughn: They made Cleveland a champion even if only on film.
LeBron James: Changing teams is one thing. Choosing to play with your buddies is, too. But a charade leading to a 1-hour self-aggrandizing special to announce the below-the-belt pummeling of his home state? New dictionaries will have his picture next to the definition of "narcissist."
Dan Gilbert: The Cavs’ owner was one of the aggrieved parties until he fired off his rambling post-announcement salvo at James. Now he just looks petulant.
Jim Gray: From solid journalist to grinning infomercial straight man. Asking James, "Are you still a nail biter?" before getting around to asking where he was going to play. Ouch.
The NBA: Commissioner David Stern can’t have been too happy watching this mess play out.
Paul Goydos: Shoots a 59 only to be buried under the avalanche of LeBron coverage.
Isiah Thomas: Just when you thought he couldn’t do any more harm to the Knicks, he came out of the woodwork to make New York’s presentation to James.
Reach Star-Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.