By Ann Liguori
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LeBron James has been nominated for Time Magazine’s annual ‘Person of the Year.’ Did I hear that correctly? Before I get on my soapbox about how ridiculous that is, LeBron James apparently feels the same. James told the Associated Press: “That’s just crazy… What those guys did, the courage and what they stood for, I should be nowhere near that list. Nowhere near it.” Other finalists include President Barack Obama, former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, the Chilean miners and Lady Gaga. There are 25 nominees in all.
There’s no doubt that James dominated the headlines this summer leading up to his prime-time announcement on ESPN regarding which NBA team the then free-agent was choosing. The road to this self indulgent made-for-television over-kill special was just that – over the top. Not only did his decision to stage this television special and the way it was handled take away from LeBron’s reputation, it turned millions of fans against him and left a bad taste in the mouth of others. And it was a half-hour in cable sports history that should have been avoided. Even ESPN executives were embarrassed by the hype and conflict of interests the special presented.
Who the Time Magazine ‘Person of the Year’ will be and should be can be debated for weeks. Add LeBron James’ name to the mix and there is instant publicity for the award and fodder for talk shows. According to Time Magazine, the honor is bestowed on a man, woman or idea that for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceding year.
Are they saying that by nominating LeBron James, his made-for-television special, for better or worse, most influenced sports and/or the NBA? Are they acknowledging the influence he and his independent entourage possessed over the outcome of his decision? Indeed, unlike most stars in sports, LeBron’s closest confidantes and business managers seem to be guys that he grew up with in Akron, Ohio. That is notable. However, their advice as it relates to the television special opened the door for criticism. But then again, to be fair, the sports world questioned Tiger’s reps, International Management Group, as to how and if they were counseling Tiger during his fall from grace.
If the category were restricted to sports, who in your opinion, would be the Sports Person of the Year for 2010? Which sports personality has most influenced the world of sport in 2010? Derek Jeter? Drew Brees? Brett Favre? Michael Vick? Marion Jones? Lance Armstrong? Graeme McDowell? The UCONN women’s basketball team? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell? You decide. Let me know who and why you think so and I will make that topic the subject of a future column. Thanks for your input.
- Keidel: The Chosen None (newyork.cbslocal.com)