This probably is a bigger deal to me than to most because A: I’m an aspiring features writer and B: I am an obsessive basketball fan who started talking/blogging about the Summer of Lebron a full two years before 99% of the human population, but damn, I cannot stress enough about how powerful that opening line to that GQ Lebron cover story is.
He can imagine, he says, playing for Cleveland again one day
With that one line (and the ensuing “what???” reaction), the writer (JR Moehringer) captured Lebron’s naivety, the pain of the breakup for Clevelanders, the circus that took place this past July, and the “whole head vs heart, holding on vs letting go” dynamic that most of us who’ve been dumped have gone through.
One subtle touch that made a world of difference is that Moehringer chose to write that opening line from a distance (ie: he says…) as opposed to a direct quote (ie: “I can imagine playing for Clevelandagain one day,” says Lebron James). By putting distance between the readers and Lebron, it painted a better picture of just how aloof, and out of touch with reality, Lebron is.
Much like the Coen Brother’s complete omission of music in No Country For Old Men or Scorsese’s choice to pan the camera away from De Niro onto an empty hallway in Taxi Driver, Moehringer’s choice to write the line the way he did, is a fucking masterful move from a brilliant storyteller.
Even though I buy these US magazines (Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Rolling Stones) from Gweilo bookstores every month, I always get that “damn this is ridiculous, for the price of this magazine I coulda gotten three steak dinners at Cafe De Coral”. But not this month. This issue of GQ is worth every penny.