"Why are we booing, Daddy?"
Lebron. Cleveland, Ohio. December 2010.
Where do you begin? How do you substantiate and codify an act that drains the life force from your being on a sheer mention? How can a father extract teachable meaning for his son without breaking character and cursing the very thing he once loved?
Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks! (Ginsberg, "Howl")
"Son, we're booing him because he made his own decision, acted responsibly and looked out for his best interests." That's the answer you'd have to give, right?
But can we kill him for that? The business world has significant canon of moving parts with folks jumping Bear Stearns for JP Morgan, ABC for NBC, tragedy for triumph. Granted, most wouldn't designate an entire hour on a global network to announce our intentions (unless one actually reveled in the hate), but we'd switch teams without blinking.
I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool. (Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby)
"He's such a teddy bear," one young lady said to another as our train sped through bland Connecticut cul-de-sacs. That's what they said about Wilt, Kermit and Shaq. This world has a dangerously fleeting memory, one that can make today's heroes tomorrow's villains.
I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision—I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world. (Shelley, Frankenstein).
Unlike any transcendent player before him, Lebron was created for us, by us. Oscar was a Negro, Magic a convenient chaos schism, and Jordan his own creation myth. Our ears heard of his triumphal entry, our eyes spawned ESPN Rise and Rivals.com, our mouths declared him King before he even proved himself worthy, and our hearts melted as he vaulted our expectations as a testament and mockery of the Creator.
We took the choice out of his hands and on that Decision night...he was taking it back.
I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation (Shelley, Frankenstein).
When Lebron stepped on the Cleveland parquet that night, re-branded and remodeled, he was hell-bent on redefinition. With 38 points and a total disregard for human life, he became the kind of guy who roots for the bad guys in movies. He even refused to acknowledge his Ohio doxology.
The tender teddy is now an arctic assassin.
Be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand you if you say that it shall not (Shelley, Frankenstein).
For James, the Cleveland game only sheds more light on his obvious path to ascendancy.
Black ink must become black ice.
M. A. Benjamin, II