LEBRON JAMES & “LOST”: THE FINAL SEASONS
There were high hopes for something epic to occur this spring in the world of sports and the world of television. LeBron James was finishing the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and on ABC, “Lost” was finishing its six-season run. Would there be resolution to all the frustrating plotlines? Was the storyline going somewhere (the NBA Finals, a parallel dimension), or were the powers-that-be simply spinning their wheels and throwing familiar parts together? Would everyone make their escape from the miserable land that sucks you in and won’t let you leave? By which I mean Cleveland, but it was unclear whether anyone would get off the Island either.
We all know that it ended in disappointment. But still, there are a lot of parallels between the final season of “Lost” and LeBron’s final (sorry, Cavs fans) season as a Cavalier:
2010 was supposed to resolve a lot of the issues and conflicts that had been building for years. LeBron vs. Dwight Howard! Benjamin Linus vs. Charles Widmore! Kobe and LeBron competing for Best Player Alive! Jack and Sawyer competing for Kate’s booty! After all that, it turned out to be a showdown between two entities that have been fighting for thousands of years: The Lakers and the Celtics.
Much like the Island, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland has a weird kind of energy. I thought it was electromagnetic, but it turns out it’s just highly flammable.
Even though everyone is supposedly embroiled in this super-serious, life-or-death situation there’s a lot of weird, discordant horsing around all the time as well. Miles argues with Hurley about “Star Wars” while fleeing an inhuman murderous smoke creature; the Cavs make overlong commercial parodies in their spare time.
Look, he’s got a great personality and he seems like a sweet guy. But
Shaq – like Hurley – is a dude with a weight problems who really
doesn’t seem like the guy you want to take you to the end. Not if you’re
really serious. Also, they’re both obsessed with their numbers.
Mo Williams is Cleveland’s Sawyer. He gives people nicknames, conned the NBA into making him an All-Star, and was oddly unimportant as things wrapped up this year. So much potential; so much time standing around ineffectually and making terrible decisions. Maybe there’s a Sideways Los Angeles version of Mo Williams who plays really well in big games.
Like Michael, Mike Brown is a murderer – only he murdered two championship teams. He is going to end up a ghost, whispering to Cavaliers while they try to run offensive sets. (“Sloooow it down.” “Worrrk the ball to Shaq.” “Waaaaaalt!”) In that vein, Wally Szczerbiak was the Ana Lucia of “Lost” – seemed like a good idea for about a month, before their uselessness and annoyance meant you had to get rid of them.
Anderson Varejao = Sayid. He’s a foreign player of ambiguous ethnicity, hustles, good with his feet, has crazy hair that looks like it never gets washed. While Varejao has never killed anyone to our knowledge, his hairstyle doppelganger, Sideshow Bob, is an unrepentant killer.
For years, Cleveland has been haunted by this mysterious, intangible force that judges playoff teams to see if they’re worthy. It’s called The Choke Monster. This season, it took a human form: Antawn Jamison.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas thought he was gone. When Cleveland traded for Antawn Jamison, Z and his family escaped to Washington, D.C. But like Desmond Hume, Zydrunas has a unique body, capable of withstand inhuman pounding, whether it be from electromagnetic energy or playing Dwight Howard in the post. And so one month after the trade, Danny Ferry smuggled him back to Ohio, presumably locked inside a submarine.
Delonte West is a lot like Kate. Notable freckles, complicated romantic life, solid contributor on defense, familiar with using a gun. Both make a lot of mistakes; and each has been a fugitive from the law. We’d bet a large sum of money that, like Kate, Delonte has had sex in a bear cage before.
Before Season 3, “Lost” controversially added new characters Nikki and Paolo. Before LeBron’s third season, the Cavaliers controversially added Damon Jones and Larry Hughes. The Nikki/Paolo thing may have been ill-advised, but the creators ditched those two mid-season; Larry Hughes got a five-year deal. And just like Damon Jones, I think the guy who played Paolo is selling Chinese shoes right now.
Lost had Boone, who was kind of incompetent, not as good-looking or as successful as his sister. The Cavs have Anthony Parker.
The Others have to be the Celtics. Like the Celtics, Benjamin Linus is a dangerous rival, but he always seems like he’s too old and weak to be a real threat. He gets beat up all the time, there’s lots of falling down, while the constant stream of talking never stops. Yet in the end, they survive, and you’re left wondering – how’d they steal Game Two? And get to the Finals? And steal that sailboat?
(“Two days after I decide I’m never going to win a title, the Defensive Player of the Year and one of the greatest outside shooters in NBA history falls out of the sky. If that’s not a sign that God exists…?”)
Paul Pierce is the John Locke of the others – a man who spent his early years underestimated and unwanted, while always believing he was special. But he was fated to become the Leader of the Others all along. Pierce and Locke both spend a lot of time in wheelchairs, and are overly familiar with knives. The Finals should reveal his true nature, though Game One suggested that Pierce’s body may have also been taken over by the Choke Monster.
When you look back, the people in charge insisted they had a plan, but now that it’s over you can tell they were just pulling things out of their asses the whole time. However, they really did know the final scene all along: Lebron signing with the Knicks. The annoying part is that even the ending isn’t really an ending at all. Just as it’s been for years, the experience of actually watching LeBron and “Lost” is secondary to the real pastime: arguing about it all on the the Internet.