Published November 20, 2014
For all his brilliance, Phil Mickelson has yet to win an Open of any real significance.
So when LeBron James reminds us that he's only 25 and asks for patience, maybe we should listen. It's not like he plays for the Lakers, after all.
But when the elite of Cleveland feel the need to get together to beg him in song to stay, maybe James should be the one doing the listening.
Sing they did, in a video almost as comical as the way the Cavaliers rolled over for Boston. The governor of Ohio even joined in, to the tune of "We are the World."
"Just tell us, King, what changes we must make," they sang. "We'll name a street LeBron, if that's what it takes."
Might take a bit more than that. How does Lake LeBron sound for that big body of water the city sits next to?
But this man who moves Cleveland residents so much they gather to sing to him must have a higher calling. There has to be more in his life than earning countless millions to don shorts and run up and down the hardwood in front of 20,000 gawkers.
So forget the endless debate over what James should do and where he should go. Let's take a look instead at possible careers away from basketball:
MAYOR OF CLEVELAND — To hear the incessant talk about how James means so much to the good people of Cleveland that they would jump en masse into Lake Erie if he left, why not give him the job running the much maligned city instead? No need to strive in vain for an NBA title when James can really do something meaningful for the city — such as fixing the potholes. James could become a real hero by donating his Nike endorsement money for one year to prop up the city's school district, where hundreds of teachers are on the verge of being laid off.
AMERICAN IDOL JUDGE — There's an opening coming up on the "American Idol" judging panel next season, and James would be the perfect candidate to replace Simon Cowell. The job doesn't seem to require either talent or musical knowledge, so James won't need to worry about that. The bonus is there's not too many other places he can earn an NBA-like salary working only two nights a week.
OIL DRILLING CZAR — He can't win the big one, but can he cap the big one? Now that James has some free time, how about putting him in charge of the mess in the Gulf? Think outside the box, like dumping thousands of Nike LeBron Zoom Soldiers into the hole to stop the flow of oil.
TOUR DE FRANCE CONTESTANT — Talk about getting on your bicycle. The French don't like American racers much to begin with, but they might cancel the race and go home once they see James mount his bike. Might be some trouble, though, if some 120-pounder juiced on EPO races past him in the mountain stage.
NBA COMMISSIONER — David Stern, as he is quick to tell you, has done an admirable job taking a league once saddled with drug and image problems and turning it into a superstar-centric powerhouse. But Stern is getting on in years and James could be the taskmaster who really whips the league into shape. His first edict would be that anyone who manages to get inside the lane with the ball is automatically entitled to two free throws.
MINOR LEAGUE FIRST BASEMAN — Yes, James would make a fine tight end in the NFL. But if he really wants to be like Mike, he needs to play baseball like Mike. A brief break to play baseball, then James could return to hoops and begin work on that other little thing Jordan has that he doesn't — six NBA championship rings.
POTUS — Why stop with Cleveland, when the rest of the country could also benefit from the King's magnanimous magnificence? Sure, there's that little detail about the President of the United States having to be 35. But he does look older, and who's going to ask him for his birth certificate? Just in case, the current occupant has made sure there's a basketball court just steps from the Oval Office.
Indeed, the possibilities are endless for a man of so much ambition and so many talents.
Odds are, though, LeBron will keep his day job, and he'll keep it in Cleveland.
Because even King James can't resist a good song, with a chorus straight from the heart:
"Please stay, LeBron. We really need you. No bigger market's gonna love you half as much as we do."
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org.