I have a big problem with what Lebron James did last Thursday night on ESPN. A big, big, big problem. What he did, essentially, was take the team out of team sports and make it all about one person. The problem w/ his "performance" is that it will more than likely cause other superstars of other sports to do the same thing.
Enter Ilya Kovalchuk.
So far, Kovalchuk has been the primadonna of this year's free agent class. People have labeled it Kovygate (for some unknown reason) and papers from New York to Los Angeles have documented the winger's inability to make a decision on where he wants to sign.
The problem here is that a Canadian television station has asked Kovalchuk to pull a Lebron James and announce his decision on air, according to NESN.com.
I have a major problem with this because I grew up playing team sports. I played little league baseball, town team basketball, high school football, basketball and lacrosse and ended my sports playing career with college football. I've done everything I could do without making a professional jump (because honestly, I wasn't good enough) and throughout my lifetime I was taught that the name/logo on the front of the jersey meant more than the name on the back.
When did this change?
When Kevin Garnett came to the Boston Celtics via trade, there wasn't a big blow-up over it. KG or Ray Allen didn't go on ESPN and hold an hour television special (note: not a press conference) to announce if they would/would not waive their no trade clause.
Lebron James, and Ilya Kovalchuk should this event happen, are exactly what's wrong with this current crop (and subsequent crop of players hereafter) of players. This is deeper than just an hour spectacle on "The Network", its about the death of the "team" aspect as a whole.
Certainly there are still teams like the Boston Celtics and events like the World Cup and the Olympics were the team is still prevalent, but with this generation of sports, that will be washed out.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am disgusted. I'm disgusted in the 12 million+ people that watched the Lebron special and then complained about it the day after. We all (self included) knew what was going to happen and when it was over (or at least when he made his decision) we changed the channel and then said how classless James is.
If Kovalchuk goes through with this, he'll be no different. The idea of announcing a decision on a show is a joke. Instead of holding clubs hostage (James only told Miami his decision), just make your decision and hold your press conference. Be done with it already!
There are a million people out there that would love to play in the NBA or the NHL and would do it for under 100K a year. The fact that we, as sports fans, allow these "superstars" to parade around on TV, pimp their clothing lines and hold us hostage for millions and millions of dollars is an absolute abomination.
When salaries go up, who ends up paying for it? That's right America (and Canada), we do. At some point we need to take a stand against rising salaries, ESPN "specials" (which are just fucking reality shows) and all the other bullshit that causes a family of 4 to spend upwards of $400 just to watch a GAME.
If the "superstar" doesn't care about the name on the front of the jersey, why should we care about the name on the back?