So I’d say LeBron James is probably my favorite current NBA player. Ever since I first heard of this incredible talent, when I worked at SLAM magazine and my colleague Ryan Jones said to me one day, “There’s some kid in Akron, Ohio named LeBron James who’s a sophomore and who everybody is going nuts about,” I’ve followed the kid fairly closely.
I think so far, he’s done a very admirable job handling the spotlight. In the few times I’ve interviewed him, I found him to be intelligent, thoughtful, and pretty funny. We once had a brief discussion of Malcolm Gladwell while some other sportswriters in the gaggle looked on quizzically.
Anyway, LeBron makes very few public missteps. But I think he made one this week, when he suggested not only that he would give up No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan, but that everyone in the NBA should stop wearing it as well, thereby retiring that number.
I don’t know, exactly, why James said this. Part of me thinks it’s some sort of reverential “getting in good” with the man he hopes to replace as the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time). Part of me thinks Nike pushed him into it, as an homage to Jordan getting in the Hall of Fame this year, and to sell more LeBron jerseys with a different number on it (Remember, MJ wore No. 45 when he came out of retirement the first time).
Part of me thinks LeBron just thinks he’s that powerful, that he can, like, make other people honor Jordan as much as he has.
I don’t know, it just seems a little strange to me. LeBron might want to rethink this one. After all, isn’t the greatest way to honor MJ to become the second-greatest player ever to wear that number?
It’s just weird.
**So you see a lot of crazy people on television. But this guy fascinated me to no end. On this month’s HBO Real Sports, which I shamefully only got around to watching on Saturday, there was a story about Ashrita Furman, a New York man who owns about 92 Guinness Book of World Records titles. He does stuff like juggle under water with sharks swimming around him, and pogo stick in the Amazon River.
You would think he’s a total nutjob, but believe it or not, after watching the piece (and I highly recommend checking it out on HBO or HBO on Demand if you can), I actually like the guy. This is how he keeps himself sane, and this is what makes him happy, and if he’s not hurting anyone else, what’s so bad about what he does?
Anyway, here’s one typical Ashrita Furman attempt (if there can be such a thing):