Does LeBron’s decision deserve this much attention? YEP

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I’m going to make an assumption that because you are reading this, you are a sports fan. Therefore, you have not spent more than five minutes watching TV, listening to the radio or checking Twitter in the past week without hearing or reading some seemingly meaningless update about LeBron James’ life.

For the second time in four years, LeBron’s free agency has brought the entire sports world to a halt. He’s the first, second and third biggest story from sunrise in South Beach to sunset in Hollywood.

Most of you just want this to be over with. Most of you say you don’t care. After all, isn’t there anything better to talk about?

ESPN, along with other media outlets, has been heavily criticized for wall-to-wall coverage of “The Decision: Part II.” If you take a slice of your Twitter feed to sample the nation’s collective mood on the coverage, it would seem people are fed up with such endless coverage. The media has become the enemy. It’s suddenly our fault for giving James this much attention.  

There’s only one problem: He deserves every bit of it.

Here’s the thing about making a television show, or running a news website. You need people to watch your show or read your site if you want to make money. The livelihood of the writers, reporters, editors, producers and so many others depend on that premise. Therefore, it is these outlets’ job to produce the most interesting news at all times (within standard journalistic guidelines, of course).  

More people care about LeBron James than anything else, and, to be honest, it’s not even close.

The two biggest stories in sports this weekend (excluding LeBron) were the Wimbledon final between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, as well as the announcement of the MLB All-Star rosters.  

On Monday night, the All-Star rosters were still a fairly prominent topic of discussion, but they paled in comparison to discussions about an uneventful day for James (outside of two pedestrian signings made by the Heat –€“ Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger).

So why was LeBron still that much bigger of a story than the All-Stars –€“ and everything else?

Here’s one number that will blow your mind.

LeBron has 13.4 million Twitter followers.

The entire collection of MLB All-Stars, a grand total of 66 players so far, have 7.01 million Twitter followers COMBINED.

That is so unbelievable I had to add it all up twice.  

If you want an even more ridiculous gap, the number of followers the AL and NL starting lineups have combined is 2.69 million.

James has almost FIVE TIMES as many followers as the best baseball players in the world, as chosen by the fans, have collectively.

It’s undeniable: James is the most popular athlete in America by an unthinkable margin. ESPN, FOX Sports 1, and every other sports media outlet in the country have every right to cover his free agency like hawks.

We are in virtually uncharted territory with this saga. Other than The Decision: Part I, there’s only been one other time in the history of sports where the undisputed best player in his respective sport has been an unrestricted free agent. That was Alex Rodriguez in 2000. That episode came before Twitter and the 24-hour era of SportsCenter, though. We’re in a completely new era of media today.

Do not underestimate the importance of this moment, either.

This is a landmark moment in the history of the NBA, especially if James decides to leave. He is holding the fate of at least four Hall-of-Fame players in the palm of his giant hand.

It won’t be long before this is all over again and we can go back to our normal mid-July routine of spending time with our wives and girlfriends until football season mercifully arrives.

But in the meantime, if you want us to stop talking about LeBron, you’re out of luck. For a few more days, the King is … well, king.

Follow Josh on Twitter @JoshParcell

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.