This year’s summer sports have been anything but boring

Curtis Powers

Summertime can be a slow time in Ames sports-wise. With students gone for the summer and the sports season finished, there’s generally not much going on besides summer workouts.

However, this summer has been different. Well, if you include events outside of Ames.

We watched as the Big 12 Conference almost disintegrated before our eyes — Nebraska and Colorado left the conference, which will take effect next year.

We watched Craig Brackins drafted 21st overall in the NBA. He’s going to play in New Orleans with Chris Paul. At least, as of now.

We watched Lisa Koll end her career at Iowa State by finishing second in the 10K at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake — that was after she won the 5K and 10K at the NCAA Championships to help Iowa State finish eighth overall.

We watched Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria, one of the most exciting sports moments this century — that, and a lot of bad officiating.

We watched one of the more dramatic NBA finals in the past 20 years. Celtics-Lakers going to seven games is always epic — even when their play was poor. I mean, Kobe Bryant shoots 6-24 in game seven and is the MVP? Yikes.

Even the NHL finals returned to a level of relevance with Philadelphia and Chicago.

Overall, there was a lot of exciting things happening that were legitimate sports entertainment.

And then, we got sports reality television.

LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh turned this summer’s NBA free agency into a combination of the “Real World,” “American Idol” and “The Bachelor.”

Consider this: both Bosh and Wade filmed their experiences in order to potentially create a documentary. How ridiculous is that?

Meanwhile, others quietly went about their business with dignity. Kevin Durant re-signed with Oklahoma City Thunder, and let people know via Twitter. Not a huge deal.

When it was announced ESPN was going to air an hour special for LeBron’s “decision” — at LeBron’s request — I knew things were not going to end well.

And that was considering I thought he was going back to Cleveland. I thought there is no way you do a show on national television and not re-sign with the Cavs.

It’d be too brutal and devastating for Cleveland fans if he went somewhere else, and he should know that growing up in Akron.

However, I was mistaken. I should have known better I guess.

So with that, James went from one of the most liked and talented NBA superstars to perhaps its most hated. He’s now the A-Rod of the NBA. He made Miami Heat the New York Yankees of basketball.

Bizarre. I mean, Bryant goes from villain to hero like that. I hate the Lakers, but I will now cheer for them to crush the Heat. I hope the Heat never win a title.

The drama didn’t end there either. Cleveland’s owner Dan Gilbert’s open letter on the Cavaliers website written in 20-point Comic Sans was something that sounded like it was written after a few too many drinks.

He called James “narcissistic” and “selfish” with the move being “a cowardly betrayal.” Perhaps the strongest language used was, “Some people think they should go to heaven but not have to die to get there.”

Then things became flat out ridiculous. The Rev. Jesse Jackson felt like he needed to weigh in on Gilbert’s letter.

Jackson said, “He speaks as an owner of LeBron and not the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. His feelings of betrayal personify a slave-master mentality. He sees LeBron as a runaway slave.”

Really? Gilbert’s letter included a lot of things, but race was not one of them. But that’s probably what we should expect from the Rev. Jackson, who turns everything into a racial issue.

Some of the best statements, though, came from fans via Bill Simmons column— if you have a chance, you should read the whole thing.

“Sure there are other teams that are more futile, and some cities come close to our collective disappointment and pain. However, none of them have had the biggest homegrown sports star, and pretty much only hope for a dying city, go on TV and give a blatant ‘F you.'” – Michael Beach, Chicago

“My friend Max’s reaction to the LeBron special and signing: ‘This country was founded upon the practice of defying egotistical kings.'” – Jim Martelli, New York

“We had a LeBronfire last night … I burned everything I own with his name on it.

My wife could sleep with my father and I wouldn’t feel this betrayed.” – Kevin Heffernan, Akron

That last sentence just about says it all doesn’t it?