Dwyane Wade had a birthday last week.
I’m not sure if anyone else heard that, but according to ESPN.com it was worthy of being a lead story. Not because he turned 32, that was old news. No, the story was something of far greater importance. I’ll give you a second to prepare for it, because it’s a doozy.
Here it is: LeBron James, Wade’s teammate and friend, wished him a Happy Birthday, and he used the internet to do it. If your mind was just blown, that’s nothing to be ashamed of, mine was too.
OK, OK, I’ll stop with the tongue-and-cheek for a second here. The real story, according to sports media, had to do with what LeBron said in his birthday message. Evidently, The King mentioned that no matter what happens in the future he hopes that he and Wade will forever be friends.
The ramifications of that message, apparently, were far-reaching and of monumental importance. In case you were unaware, this summer James can opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat and sign elsewhere, even returning to Cleveland in what might be the strangest saga in all of sports. The way the stories and talk online went surrounded LeBron’s vague references to the future and his pending potential free agentship, which I’m sure some people care about.
The point I’m making is that this story was blown WAY out of proportion.
Look, if LeBron actually opts out after this season and hits the free agent market, that would be huge news. But he’s been very adamant about saying that he’s not talking about any of that until after this year, a very smart move on his part and a respectable decision — he’s trying to focus on his team and the season and not be a giant distraction *coughDwightHowardcough.*
But this? LeBron was just wishing his teammate of three and a half years and friend of 10 years a happy birthday. He was saying that no matter what the future may hold, including the future outside of basketball, he hopes that he and Wade will always stay friends, because that is how much their friendship means to him.
To say that LeBron, who has almost always been a very savvy user of social media and public relations (with one notable, hour-long exception), let slip some dark intention to leave the potentially three-time defending champion Heat during a birthday message to Wade is pretty absurd. It paints a picture of a much darker and more sinister man that James has proven to be, and all in the name of getting more clicks on a website.
I guess what I’m saying is calm down, sports writers. Not everything that happens is ground-breaking news. Sometimes a man just wants to say Happy Birthday in peace.