As a sportswriter, Mr. Right probably has a better understanding of the advantages and incentives the Miami Heat offered to LeBron James than I do. When the subject came up in the sports department this afternoon, he quite justly scoffed at the offended attitude of New York City fans and media, many of whom felt just as betrayed by James's failure to sign with the Knicks or Nets as Cleveland fans felt by his departure from the city where he had actually played the game for seven years.
He then offered some theoretical explanations of his own. Climate, for instance: James had said, after all, that he was heading, not to Miami, but to "South Beach." He may simply like the weather and the lifestyle down there. Another possibility, Mr. Right submitted, was taxes. Florida has much lower state taxes, he said, than New York or other states with teams that had tried to lure James. Mr. Right did not expect any professional athlete to admit such a motive if pressed, but it seemed plausible to him that James, like any aggressive entrepreneur, would want to keep more of his hard-earned money than some states would allow.
"So to New York Knicks fans," he continues, "If you want to blame someone for LeBron James not coming to join your crappy franchise, blame Barack Obama."
The President's role in setting state tax rates was unclear to me, but to be fair, I think that Mr. Right had his tongue partly in his cheek this time.
I'd like to give him credit for ending this sorry saga on the right note of absurdity, but I also heard this afternoon that another unhappy NBA owner has called for a federal investigation of the James affair. Basketball people may end up as the idiots of a second week in a row.