On some level, I feel sorry for Brian Windhorst.
He’s been covering LeBron James ever since his days at the Akron Beacon Journal, and James’ days as a high school phenom in northern Ohio. When James left Cleveland, Windhorst also took his talents to South Beach, becoming the lead writer for ESPN’s “Heat Index,” the ego-massaging digital drivel device that’s followed every Miami Heat muscle twitch since the summer of 2010 when James and Chris Bosh formed the axis of evil with Dwyane Wade.
You see, as much as Windhorst presumably loves his dream job, pulling new and creative story ideas from the nether regions of his mind daily is a difficult task throughout the dog days of the NBA season. When the public’s attention span starts to waver, colossal trolling is necessary.
Football writers have had an easy solution for those dog day blues. Just write something that contains Tim Tebow’s name, even in passing. But sometimes, basketball writers need to harness the power of Tebow too. Sometimes, two figures who are both universally hated and loved need to be united in one symphony of polarization.
Sometimes, you need to ask LeBron James about his thoughts on Tim Tebow.
Yes, that actually happened. Windhorst did indeed write the most ESPNy story that’s even appeared on any section of ESPN.com yesterday when he asked James about his thoughts on Tebow. The premise? James is polarizing, and Tebow is polarizing. Therefore the two have common ground.
What the hell, let’s see what LeBron had to say. Surely John Fox will reference his words during tonight’s pre-game speech.
“I love to see what a guy can do when his back is up against the wall and everybody counts him out. I’m in that same boat sometimes”
“I can relate to him a lot. I see how the media plays it sometimes and how the critics go at him. To see him prove them wrong … he continues to stay positive and move forward. You respect that.”
Enlightening, compelling, and rich.
James is covered in Tattoos and is by all accounts a self-entitled jerk, yet he feels as though he can relate to Tebow just because they’re both massively polarizing figures and talking points in their respective sports. He’s referring to the same Tebow who will instinctively say that the highlight of his day was visiting a girl in the hospital, and he’ll say that moments after he led a game-winning drive. It’s also the same Tebow who says sir and/or “God bless” after nearly every sentence.
The only common ground between Tebow and James is their ability to make people talk, watch, and listen no matter how they’re performing on the field/court, an ability that’s shared by at least one athlete in every other major North American sport (Tiger Woods, Sidney Crosby, and Alex Rodriguez, to name a few). If that’s enough to draw a legitimate connection worthy of a few hundred words in Windhorst’s story entitled “LeBron James relates to Tim Tebow,” then we’ll also have to disregard Woods’ chronic fornication, and Rodriguez’s cheating.
Both James and Tebow can get ESPN page views. They’re really good at that too.