Friday, July 11, 2014

The LeBron James Decision Arrow

(By the time you read this, LeBron may have already signed somewhere. If this is the case, replace "LeBron" with "Carmelo Anthony" or the name of any other major free agent.)

Think about LeBron James's free agency decision as a free floating arrow pointing towards an infinite arc of the future:

The arc represents all of the possible outcomes. In the middle is "Playing basketball in Miami" or "Playing Basketball in Cleveland." Go further out, "Play basketball somewhere else" then "Play football" then "Retire from sports altogether" then "I am becoming a monk" and on and on into infinitely more unlikely scenarios. ("Eat poop until I die from shit poisoning, etc. etc. etc.)

LeBron is at the front of this arrow that points towards the future because more than anyone he has knowledge and control of what he is going to do. Then his family, who we can safely assume are probably the people in his life he is most concerned with and probably have the most knowledge of and input in his decision. 

Then we see his agents and business advisers, people he trusts with the management of his career and assets; they're not shaping LeBron's priorities or influencing his opinions as much as his family, but he wouldn't hire them if he didn't trust them. Then, the teams that he is talking to, who have an idea through both him and his representation about what he is looking for and are striving to accommodate that. 

Then we get to dudes he knows: friends, teammates, who are familiar with his thinking because they've talked about it. LeBron probably trusts these people enough to solicit their opinions but not enough to make those opinions the basis of what his decision is going to be the person he tells his intentions to. Then, reporters who tare talking to people in the last three sections: his agents, teams and his friends, and working them for information. They are reporting whatever they get right now but they're not so dumb that they don't know what's reliable and what isn't. 

Then, after all of those people who have even kind of an idea about where LeBron is going, is everyone else in the entire world who absolutely do not know at all. This includes you. As a matter of fact, you might be on the very back end of everyone in the world, because I could tell someone with only a cursory knowledge of basketball "LeBron James is choosing between Miami and Cleveland" and their 50/50 guess about where he is going is probably better than your educated guess because your guess is weighed down by giant heaping piles of assumptions and bullshit that you've been fed by reporters drawing information from all up and down the middle of the spectrum and flattening that information's origin into "Sources."

This is all to say, "Stop guessing, it's obnoxious." Where you think LeBron is going says way more about you than LeBron.

1. If you think he is going to Cleveland you think that the universe has a dominant narrative arc. LeBron left, he reveled and succeeded and dominated, and now he is coming home to reclaim such and such. Life has order and redemption.

2. If you think Maimi, you think that the universe is stagnant. LeBron will sit on southern Florida until he collapses all of the gravity around his mass and the whole state will be consumed by his black hole and eventually we will be wiped out by the heat death of the universe. Life is non-movement until everything collapses, there is no order but the mathematics of death.

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