7:13 PM EST, February 18, 2012
Dwight, babe, I don't usually do this without charging a hefty consultant's fee, but I like you, so this one's on the house.
Because your personal handlers aren't doing a very good job of making you look good during these tumultuous trade talks, I'm going to show you how you can be everything you want to be.
You want to be the star among All-Stars?
You want to get more hype and hoopla than LeBron?
You want to be globally cheered and revered?
You want to be the national hero of every loyal sports fan from Portland to Pahokee?
You want to be even bigger than … Jeremy Lin?
Here's all you need to do:
Call a news conference during this week's NBA All-Star festivities in Orlando (I would do it on Friday morning to maximize the coverage). Invite Charles Barkley and Shaq and Ernie and Bill Simmons and Wilbon and Tirico and Jeff Van Gundy and Stephen A. and Adrian Wojnarowski and Chris Broussard and Peter Vecsey and all of the other national media that will be in town to chronicle All-Star Weekend. Invite a bunch of Magic fans, too, to give the place some ambience. And maybe some kids. You can't go wrong with kids.
And then you take the podium with all of those worldwide TV cameras from 215 countries focused on you — and only you. And then you announce it. You get up and you say this: "I have decided to keep my talents in Orlando. This is my team. This is my town. This is the place that drafted and developed me. I don't need to go to South Beach or Hollywood or the Big Apple to win championships. I can do it right here. Correction: We can do it right here. My decision is final: I am going to sign an extension with the Orlando Magic."
Cue the balloons, the raucous cheers and the piped-in Kool and the Gang singing "Celebrate good times – come on!"
Then watch what happens, Dwight. You will be amazed. Not only will "The Happiest Place on Earth" become even happier, but your popularity will be off the charts. The national media will write that LeBron had "The Decision" but Dwight made "The Right Decision."
You will be lauded as unique, one of a kind, a different type of superstar. Barkley will talk about you with old-school reverence and commend you for not wanting to go play with Kobe in L.A., Dirk in Dallas or D-Rose in Chicago. He will say, "The true greats don't go play for somebody else's team; they attract others to come play for their teams."
See, Dwight, you will have separated yourself from all the rest — from all the other superstars who have become like aimless moths, swarming and circling as they blindly migrate toward the nearest bright light. By the way, Dwight, have you noticed how these players aren't nearly as popular since they left their original teams?
In New York, Carmelo is now being painted as the selfish superstar who might ruin Jeremy Lin's team. And remember when LeBron was the most popular athlete in the country when he played for Cleveland? Now that he's in Miami, he's one of the most hated.
Even LeBron seems to be having second thoughts about taking his talents to South Beach. Why else would he open the door earlier this week about someday returning to Cleveland, the city that once adored him, worshipped him … loved him.
"I think it would be great," LeBron said of a potential return to Cleveland. "It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. … And if I decide to come back, hopefully the fans will accept me."
Translation: The grass isn't always greener.
Dwight, I believe LeBron is a perfect example of what Magic owner Rich DeVos was talking about a few days ago when referring to your trade request. His message — gained through 85 years of living — was this: When you leave a city that idolizes you, the love and honor stay behind.
"The loyalty you develop in a community is always remembered," DeVos said. "But if you leave, you don't pick it up in the next town."
That's it, Dwight.
That's my advice.
This week is your chance to be everything you want to be. The biggest star among All-Stars.
LeBron's "Decision" incited millions to loathe and ridicule him.
Your "Right Decision" can inspire millions to love and respect you.
email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BianchiWrites. Listen to his radio show every weekday from 6 to 9 a.m. on 740 AM.
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