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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

Bigger Than Ball

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       This is like seeing a slush ball in July.    A snowdrift blocking your driveway as you were heading out to Independence Day fireworks.

       We're obsessing about NBA basketball in the middle of summer.

       I've NEVER heard more buzz about professional roundball than I have the past few weeks as the most talented crop of Association free agents decides where it'll ply it's collective trade.      The one generating optimum buzz is LeBron James who will announce where he's going Thursday night in a prime-time one-hour extravaganza on ESPN.

       The debate about the Worldwide Leader In Sports and it's cozy relationship with those it covers is also reaching critical mass.    My questions about ESPN's journalistic chops were answered years ago when it started using the folks it covers in it's promos.   They made me laugh, but they also made me wonder.   

       Proud cities humbled themselves to capture the fancy of the King and others.    Folks who could agree on nothing else in their lives were locking arms and changing the names of their towns and counties the curry favor with megastars.     The propriety of that, too, is open for debate.

       Through it all, the NBA emerges as a winner.    People who couldn't tell a three-point arc from a line in a parking lot have strong opinions on James, free agency, big sports money, and pro hoop.     At a time when we should be consumed with baseball and even the approaching Packers season, we're breathlessly refreshing our web browsers, checking LeBron's new Twitter account and ultimately planting ourselves in front of the tube Thursday night to see where the King lands.

      To read a less charitable take of the whole affair, check out this column from Yahoo Sports, forwarded to me by co-worker Erik Bilstad.

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