Who’s Responsible? We are.

We created the monster.

And now, we want him back in his cage.

This all dates back to the monster’s high school days.  He seemed innocent enough, dunking on every poor little prep academy player in the nation.  Triple doubles came like free throws.  They were supposed to happen.  The monster was declared the ‘chosen one’, and then later, ‘King’.  We ate it up, all of us. 

Whether we liked or disliked the monster, we tuned in.  We perpetuated his fame, his greatness, his freakish ability the likes of which none of us had ever seen before.  We loved that he was bringing his ‘hometown team’ to the forefront of the National Basketball Association.  He did it with ease and grace.  He seemed like the love of our lives. 

He took a terrible team to the NBA Finals one year.  He won a NBA Most Valuable Player Award.  He would go on to win another.  We added more and more to his hypothetical resume.  We loved it. 

The monster declared that he wanted to pursue free agency.  We loved that even more.  That was awesome!  We figured he deserved the chance to be wooed, he had never been wooed out of high school by any colleges.  This was because, well, he was the monster.  Monsters don’t go to college.  They are above men, therefore they play with the greatest men and embarrass them.  They demonstrate their ability and flex their monster muscles on the largest stage.  Our monster wanted to bask in his value, he wanted to hear it directly from the franchises that would trample their mothers to get his autograph.  No harm done, we thought.

Then, we saw what we never thought the monster was capable of doing.  He quit.  In fact, he quit twice.  Both times he quit were times when his team needed him most.   But alas, he simply couldn’t go the extra mile.  He embarrassed the droves of people who supported him.  The embarrassment was even bigger because men tripped up the monster.  Two of the men were on their last legs.  The monster seemed vulnerable like he never had before.  So did we.

But given his situation with free agency and his injured elbow (he made sure to show us the pain by shooting a left-handed free throw), we could understand.  The monster was more man than we had made him out to be.  Men get hurt, men get tired, men can’t always do it alone.  We felt for the monster.  We saw that even our greatest monsters can have man-like attributes. 

Free agency arrived.  It was unclear where the monster would call home.  He waited out his fellow semi-monsters, he needed to narrow his options.  That’s permissable, we thought.  The monster should be able to choose his best situation, he is the monster.  Then, cruelly, the monster decided to be the last one standing.  He decided to have an ESPN-produced special announcing where he would playing next season.  At first, there were some ‘Ooohs’ and ‘Ahhhhs’ (probably because we felt he deserved to choose a hat from three on a podium, remember, he never got the chance to announce his college choice, college is for chumps), but then it turned on the monster.   People realized that the monster got too big for his own good.  Maybe even too big for our own good!  His hedonism had exemplified Robert Nozick’s idea that the philosophy was “fit only for swine”.  He over-indulged in his monster persona, he rolled in it, he basked in it, and he became fat.  The monster had become miserably fat with hubris and greed.

We are tired of the monster holding us hostage.  Yet, it is difficult to call ourselves ‘hostages’, because quite simply, we gave ourselves to the monster.   We propped him up.  We gave him all the media attention.  We showered him with our love.  If we didn’t love him, we showered him with our ratings.  We declared him a ‘King’ before he had lived a day in the kingdom.  In history books, we see that Kings often become a victim of their own arrogance.  This is no different.  We’ve allowed our hostage situation to last a decade (give or take), and now we realize that our Stockholm Syndrome has disappeared?  Now we don’t want to live in the palm of the King’s hand?  Now?

 We gave the monster his power.  Now he’s abusing it.  Good luck stopping him before he stops himself.

Want the monster back in the cage?

Too bad.  We are the cage.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Who’s Responsible? We are.

  1. This is BRILLIANT. It is, and it’s so true. Well, I don’t think he quit twice, but I understand what you’re saying there.

    People are mad that LeBron is doing this, but the basketball public fed this beast for the past 8-9 years, ever since he was in high school. In all honesty, all he has done is live up to every…single…expectation that has been placed before him. This is another one: the quest for a championship. The next test begins once he puts that hat on tomorrow night, and it’s one I’m confident he’ll pass with flying colors.

  2. Dope as hell…

    “Want the monster back in the cage?

    Too bad. We are the cage.”

    I can’t explain how profound those words are, great stuff brother.

    -Ed.

  3. This is very well written and so true Mark. Just yesterday I was joking about the ESPN special with my colleague and telling him how ridiculous I thought it was and even though he agreed, he said he’d watch it… because it’s Lebron. Even me, not an NBA fan in the slightest, has found himself swept up by the hype machine. You can’t blame Lebron for wanting to be a star, a celebrity. We’re allowing it to happen.

  4. andyveilleux

    You hit the nail on the head, great job Mark. I couldn’t agree with you more. “We are the cage,” so true…

  5. Mike

    Once again, an extremely well written and thought out piece.

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