The NBA Dribbled Out

The screenshot below shows CBS Sports’ differing columns on LeBron’s new kicks (seen above). 

The two columns I’m referring to are written by Ken Berger and Gregg Doyel, respectively, and they’re diametrically opposed to the significance of LeBron’s new, Nike designed, LeBron X kicks that could retail from anything between $290 and $315.* That’s a lot of money, and money a lot of kids don’t possess, so obviously this is something the national columnists would want to address.

Berger, rightfully, points out the cost of the new sneaker has no baring on LeBron’s character, just like Stephon Marbury’s Starbury line of sneakers and their affordability doesn’t automatically make Stephon Marbury a solid citizen (regardless of your interpretation of his teenage years after reading Darcy Frey). 

Doyel—forever a lightening rod for being a lightening rod—espouses the alternate take that LeBron’s costly footwear signifies his ignorance at the plight of “normal” people. This (in Doyel’s mind) ties into LeBron’s comments after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals when he said everyone would have to go back to their regular life (I think there was a McDonald’s reference in there too, but I’m too busy to look it up), and he’s still LeBron James: Master of the World.

Maybe there’s something to Doyel’s associations between the two seemingly unrelated events, but it’s a freakin’ pair of sneakers and he comes off as just as disingenuous as he always does. He even writes that “today, I am anti-LeBron.” And yet Doyel is pretending to stick up for those American basketball fans that want LeBron James’ new sneaker, but can’t afford to pay the exorbitant cost.

Later in Doyel’s piece, he rehashes the arguments against LeBron that we’ve all read for the last 3 years: he disgraced himself on national TV and ripped the heart out of all his (not really) hometown Cleveland fans. He is all avarice and showmanship and very little substance. 

Since Doyel’s loudly proclaiming that he’s anti-LeBron, why should anyone take him seriously as a basketball columnist?

Ad hoc, ad hominem attacks on LeBron’s character weren’t ever fair, even before he won a title and another Olympic Gold, but less so in this case. If Doyel feels this upset about the cost of an NBA player’s shoes, why doesn’t he go buy a few pairs of the kicks with his cushy CBS money instead of denigrating the athlete that happens to endorse the product. Athletes and commerce will forever be linked since MJ’s Nike deals, but to blame the athlete’s character for the cost of the sneakers is something both Ken Berger and myself can agree is wrong.

What do you think readers? Is LeBron to blame (on a personal level) for the cost of Nike’s shoes that bear his name?

*DailyStuntastic wrote in to clarify the price of the LeBron X vs the LeBron X+:

I’d like to clarify something about the Lebron X. The actual Lebron X is only retailing for between $180-185. What everyone is buzzing about as far as the $300 price tag goes is the Lebron X+, which is essentially the same shoe plus Nike’s Plus technology which lets you track stats such as vertical and speed on the computer. The $120 markup has already been seen in the Lunar Hyperdunk+ which is out now.

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    But because its LeBron he will be crucified for the Nike Plus technology portion without acknowledging the original....
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