Skip Bayless will make $26 million in the next four years while working at Fox Sports. Which is incredible when you consider that LeBron James killed him less than 24 hours ago.
Figuratively, of course, but after recognizing how the soon-to-be-former ESPN First Take-er built the latter (and most profitable) part of his career on anti-LeBron James hot takes, it feels like at least a part of Skip Bayless has died.
Which is sad, since it also feels like our idiotic American sports media innocence is lost. We were so happy with LeBron's failures. They kept us safe at night, reassuring us that in our great country even the dumbest of opinions should find mainstream support. LeBron James was a choke artist, gutless Millennial who lacked both respect for the game and a "clutch gene." And if some know-it-all stat nerd type or basketball historian dare make an effort to highlight Bron Bron's excellence, we all had the infallible fable of Michael Jordan to wrap around ourselves for comfort.
He's not Jordan. He'll never be Jordan. LeBron James is a fraud because he's not Michael Jordan.
We were so happy with LeBron's failures. They kept us safe at night, reassuring us that in our great country even the dumbest of opinions should find mainstream support.
This was Skip Bayless during his 12 years as a full-time ESPN employee, half troll, half mouthpiece for America's idiots. If LeBron James hit a game winning shot, it was only great in that it made up for all of his "misses and blunders." If LeBron James at the time was a seven-time All-Star, two-time All-Star MVP, three-time NBA All-Defensive First Team starter, and two-time NBA MVP who led a team of trash cans to the NBA Finals, he still wasn't a top-five NBA player. If LeBron James broke some statistical record, or all the statistical records—Michael Jordan. Jordan was great, LeBron is not great, and those were the rules according to Skip and his band of serial haters.
But then came last night. LeBron James won Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Defeated perhaps the greatest team ever assembled by an NBA franchise. On their home court, where the they had only lost twice in 82 regular season games and twice in the playoffs. After being down three games to one, something no NBA team has ever done. While going head-to-head with the league's back-to-back MVP. This was the improbable bordering on the impossible, and in the wake of America's collective shock, Skip Bayless—seemingly unable to process this new reality—felt it necessary to tweet that it was Kyrie Irving who actually deserved the MVP:
How can Kyrie Irving not be Finals MVP after his last four games?— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 20, 2016
Then came a claim that the San Antonio Spurs would've beaten the Cavs:
The Spurs would've beaten these Cavs.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 20, 2016
And finally, a subject-shifting "well he's no Jordan" tweet in an attempt to change the temperature of his mentions.
Here it comes: Witnesses will now make the case LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 20, 2016
Normally, this GOD level troll job would ignite fury from every corner of Twitter. But, oddly, these tweets came off more sad than anything. LeBron James led the NBA Finals—not just the Cavaliers, but the entire series—in points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals. Nobody was thinking about the Spurs. And Michael Jordan? Not only does he have nothing to do with this event, but LeBron's achievement in this series clearly eclipses even the most valiant MJ finals effort. Jordan never had to overcome an opponent like these Golden State Warriors. Everyone who watched these games understood that.
This was desperation with a 140 character limit, a pathetic last grasp at relevance so disgusting his co-workers aired him out on live TV. Skip jumped his motorcycle over the shark, and he didn't even stick the landing.
LeBron James's greatness over this last week killed the troll. It simultaneously coated King James in teflon while turning every one of Skip Bayless's words into ash. The war is over, and all that's left standing is one of the greatest athletes in American history and a bunch of dated, sh***y tweets from a millionaire contrarian in his mid-60s who averaged 1.4 points a game in his high school heyday.
The troll is dead. Long live King James.