Following NBA basketball with Lebron James is like following NASCAR when there's one particular car that's faster, accelerates better, and somehow never breaks down year after year after year. That would get boring too.
One thing that younger people might not realize is that Lebron wasn't always quite like this. Coming into the league he was a great talent and extremely physically gifted, but not like this. He has changed over time. The dude is now 33, just led the entire league in minutes played (and basically doesn't come off the floor in the playoffs), and mysteriously is the most athletic player on every court he graces, even while playing among the best conditioned athletes on the planet.
Most of why I don't enjoy watching him play is the same reason why sports has lost some of its luster as I've gotten older. There is so much money at stake now that nothing hasn't been dirtied. Every major media outlet has a stake in the Lebron empire, they are all at the teat. Similarly, there is no monetary incentive whatsoever for the league office to improve drug testing, given that its superstars are performing at near superhuman levels. To get serious would end the spectacle.
It's not just basketball, of course. Al Jazeera, which has nothing to do with sports (and is thus insulated from the corrupting influence of sports revenues in its journalism) discovered HGH being mailed to Peyton Manning's house under his wife's name. Manning had just set the single season touchdown record at age 37, a year after having two vertebrae in his neck fused together and people wondering if he'd ever play again. The dominant story in the news media? That Al Jazeera lacks credibility, that this was a smear job and an invasion of privacy, and that Manning is telling the truth. Nothing to see here.
Do I know for sure that something's amiss with Lebron, or for that matter Westbrook, or Giannis, or countless other guys? No. I also don't know for sure that there's something fishy about NBA officiating. All I know is that a crooked ref some years ago, who was eventually put in prison for betting on and rigging games, suspiciously made hundreds of phone calls at curious times to another referee, and that this other referee is universally derided by players for how bad he is, and yet this other referee somehow ends up officiating key games in the playoffs when lots of revenue is riding on whether or not the series can be extended.
Maybe I'm being unfair to Lebron in particular, but in some ways I feel he is emblematic of how our culture has changed. He is the antithesis of Bill Russell in almost every sense, a perennial winner and fierce competitor who was dwarfed in stature by Wilt, yet remained keenly focused on team basketball and won a championship in [dang] near every season he played. All of the principles embodied by Russell's career are absent with Lebron, who barely pays lip service to the concept of the team, who scorches the earth everywhere he goes before moving on somewhere else, and talks endlessly about his personal legacy.
Ok, I'm done.