Archive for 10/07/2010

“The Decision” has finally been made: LeBron James is joining D-Wade and CB4 in Miami!

On July 8th at 9:00 PM Eastern Time, LeBron James announced on an ESPN special that he will join his fellow Olympic ’08 teammates Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. The ESPN special, titled “The Decision”, was a one hour special held in Greenwich, CT where its proceedings will go back to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Akron, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, and New York.

Miami's super trio

Bosh, Wade & James showing off their Miami Heat jerseys

James and Bosh, both broughtin through sign-and-trade deals with their former clubs, took a 15 million dollar discount by signing $110.1 million over 6 years. Wade took the larger discount and signed a $107.5 million over 6 years as well with clauses that they can return to being free agents in 2014 and have player options for the 2015-2016 season.

LeBron James has switched his jersey number from #23 to #6 in tribute to Michael Jordan, while Chris Bosh switched from #4 to #1. Wade wanted to swap numbers as well but said that “#3 is the magical number “ as they are together and had to take sacrifices financialwise.

The speculation about where LeBron would be going as been endless ever since he said in an interview in November ’08 that he will not sign a contract extension with his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers, and will seek his options as a free agent. Many teams have attempted to sign the self-titled “King” by creating enough salary cap space to lure him and another max contract free agent. The New York Knicks, for instance, traded many of their best players for the past two years in order to pave way for “King James” to create his “kingdom” in the Mecca of Basketball.

Other teams that were in the race for LeBron James were the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, and the New Jersey Nets.

The Free Agent class of 2010, is easily the most coveted and star-struck class in the history of the NBA, if not in other sports as well. This summer also came to be known as the Summer of LeBron with all the hype surrounding the new Miami Heat superstar.

Rumors came out the weekend preceding July 1, where Stephen A. Smith of ESPN reported that the trio met up at South Beach to discuss all the possibilities, and stressed on the idea of the three of them playing for Wade’s Miami Heat although it was noted that LeBron initially didn’t like the idea of leaving Cleveland, hence creating a 50-50 chance of this mini Team USA to form.

Later came reports that James wanted Chris Bosh to join him at Cleveland via a sign-and-trade deal where Chris Bosh would sign with his former team, the Toronto Raptors, for max money that cannot be offered by other teams ($125 million over 6 years) and be traded to Cleveland. However, Bosh didn’t like the idea of playing in northeast Ohio, and notified James that he would play for the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, or the New Jersey Nets.

Last Tuesday, reported that James would be resigning with the Cleveland Cavaliers and that Bosh and Wade would team up in Miami and try their best to lure James to join them. Later that day, it also announced that it would be having a one hour special called “The Decision”, where LeBron James would finally announce where he will be playing basketball next.

Wednesday came, and Smith’s report of the trio joining forces in Miami resurfaced as accounted that James seemed to be leaning towards the Heat once again.

Then came the long awaited hour on Thursday that millions of basketball fans, players and organizations have been waiting for.  “I will be taking my talents to South Beach” and will be joining the Miami Heat, announced by James. Reactions came on both ends of the happiness scale, as the people in Miami were going crazy about the idea of having the trio of Bosh, James and Wade in one team while the Clevelanders felt betrayed by their own son, as “The Decision” is now added to their sports hall of shame in addition to others such as “The Fumble”, “The Shot”, and “The Drive”. LeBron said that he was looking for winning championships, as he noted that he could’ve signed for Cleveland for a lot more money or asked for a sign-and-trade deal. He simply wants to play with his Olympic teammates.

A few hours later, Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert posted a letter on his website describing his disappointment with James, without naming him in the letter and referring to his nicknames in quotes. He described James’ behavior as a “cowardly betrayal” and was extremely angry at the way James announced his decision by going on TV, by saying that “this was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his ‘decision’ unlike anything ever ‘witnessed’ in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.” He also personally guaranteed the Cavs’ fans that the organization would never betray them and that they would “win a championship before the self-proclaimed ‘king’ does” in capital letters. Later in the day, Gilbert also said in a phone interview to that James quit on his team during the second round series with Boston (after the Cavaliers were up 2-1), asking the people to see the tapes of Games 2 (where they were beaten by 32 points), 4, 5, and 6.

The trio joined the NBA after being drafted in the NBA Draft ’03, where James, Bosh and Wade were selected first, fourth and fifth respectively. Wade managed to win a championship in ‘06 after being partnered with Shaquille O’Neal while James and Bosh have yet to win the gold trophy.

“The road to history”, James tweeted on Friday, “starts now”.

Last night, I was lured into watching the elections of Miss Lebanon 2010 because there were no football matches being broadcast and no newly downloaded episodes of Glee on my laptop. But the main reason I tuned in was out of pure intrigue. The newly crowned Miss, Rahaf Abdallah, and I are both alumnae of the same high school and naturally, former classmates and teachers took their Facebook accounts to show their support and encouragement once news broke out that she would be participating in this year’s pageant.

Rahaf Abdallah, Your New Miss Lebanon

The result, as determined at midnight, did not disappoint her supporters, and I, for one, would like to extend my congratulations to Rahaf, who is pleasantly the opposite of the classical “type,” and hope that she goes on to achieve many good things in her reign, and not fade into obscurity like most of the former title-holders.
The show last night, however, got me thinking about what the exact message these pageants try to convey to the general population, especially given that Lebanon’s beauty queens rarely go on to receive worldwide acclaim, such as Miss World and Miss Universe.
Year after year, the Lebanese Broadcasting Company (LBC) dishes out a large amount of money to organize these extravagant soirees, making sure the competing ladies are decked out in only the finest of couture (which this year was absolutely horrible) and are styled by only the best in the world of fashion. That’s in addition to getting only the most notable Lebanese “superstars” to entertain the audience, because you know, the show would be nothing without them. And let’s not go into how much they spend on sets, choreography, stage effects, and of the course, the prizes! I am assuming that the resulting electricity bill for that one night is equivalent to what an entire Lebanese village generates in one month.
And that’s only the beginning.
The true heart of the competition lies in its outdated format. Assuming that we are electing beauty queens to promote the touristic qualities of our country (which are now being replaced with a notorious reputation for being a party-town), the concept of having the contestants strutting around in barely-there swimsuits just doesn’t make any sense to me. So the Miss looks good in a swimsuit, but what is that going to do to the country’s tourism? Gain the reputation of having the hottest women? Really now? Are we forgetting that despite having different religious sects, the majority of the population are conservative and would be appalled at the notion of having their wives, girlfriends, sisters, or daughters wearing nothing but a bikini and having every creature out there staring at her?
I won’t even go into the effect of that on little girls and the change in perception of their body image. Too much has been said already.
But that’s not the real problem. As any beauty queen would tell you, it’s the “inner beauty” that counts, and by inner beauty they mean, answering those nonsense questions, that seem to be adopted from a how-to-book on making people cringe, in hopes that people would see that these girls have something up there and are not just bone-skinny victims of a merciless industry.

The poor girls who had to endure the questions

Watching the girls being forced to answer a question like “What would you prefer to have between money, authority, and knowledge?” just made me want to hurl the closest piece of furniture at the television. That’s not including the fact that the five finalists all gave the exact, same answer, “Knowledge because that would give me authority and being in authority helps me make money.” Don’t be quick to blame the girls for that ingenious answer; it’s really not their fault.
Why can’t the organizers ask something more constructive?
It’s obvious the ladies have the brains; otherwise they wouldn’t be enrolled in the best universities in Lebanon. It is a true pity that these young women have to dumb themselves down to be accepted by a shallow, materialistic society.
Allowing that above-mentioned aspect to come into full-focus would just throw off the whole notion of electing beauty queens. After all, the French said it perfectly:
“Sois belle et tais- toi” which roughly translates to “Be beautiful and keep your mouth shut.”
But then again, some girls want to be the president of their country and others just want to wear that glittering tiara.

The prized tiara

And to get there, you have to pay the price. Even if it means enduring a ridiculous event like the one broadcast last night.