Wade and Trump and the respect factor

Tonight’s ESPN Sunday Conversation, a network staple, will tell the Dwayne Wade story, circa 2016 and will repeat it throughout the week. It is not the story of “Flash”, earning respect from Shaquille O’Neal and winning his first championship. It is not the story of using that earned respect and collecting two Hall of Famers from disrespected franchises to win two more championships. This story has respect running dry in Miami and rekindled in Chicago. This story has continued long since the NBA championship was decided and weeks since Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State. It is clear the ESPN narrative of choice is not about what move impacts the NBA more but what move impacts it’s audience more.

People may recognize the 2016 Kevin Durant story because it played in 2010 by Lebron James. They both chose to leave because they felt their NBA legacies would be served better elsewhere. In 2010, James’ was influenced by Dwayne Wade to come. In 2016, Kevin Durant was influenced not to come by the Dwayne Wade situation. Lebron paved the way for Durant to make his choice and make the Dwayne Wade choice more salivated for by ESPN because of the demographic they are appealing to

If Millennials were the target of this athletic injustice, it would be promoted more than the release of Dahntay Jones from Cleveland or the Draymond Green penis picture. If you want to find snippets to promote the Sunday Conversation, you may visit the less traveled ESPN NBA page. This story resonates more with the older, white male demographic that has experienced the lack of respect at their jobs and moved unceremoniously to other destinations by choice or force. The story is geared toward the constituents of Donald Trump, the souls who feel forgotten for their past and future sacrifices.

Dwayne Wade (and his mutually famous wife, Gabrielle Union), were willing participants in speaking with the SportsLeader. They have a multifaceted story to tell with two narratives viewers can relate to. It is, at once, a story about coming home to wealth of respect and leaving home, where respect was earned but not given. Tonight, Dwayne’s message was that he asked primarily for more respect and not for more money. Chicago gave Wade both just like the favored demographic gives Trump both for his candidacy for President. Trump’s white male demographic will hear both of Dwayne’s messages tonight and yearn for an America that respects them when both are home and away.

If it was 2010, the Sunday Conversation would not focus on Lebron James but on the entire city of Cleveland, ignored and disrespected and looking to lash out at those who pushed their boundaries and stole their native son. These are also the constituents of Donald Trump. Because it is 2016, Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City were not primary stories because both do not elicit emotional attachment. Kevin Durant turned tail on being a primary focal point and went to a more comfortable position. The Oklahoma City team turned tail on Seattle, even after sellouts year after year. Each party has moved on and each story will remain dormant until the NBA season starts in earnest. Kevin Durant isn’t even getting the most attention on his own team (Draymond Green everybody!).

After the Dwayne Wade Sunday Conversation, there will likely be a future Chris Bosh Sunday Conversation because his story will end in a narrative of lack of respect, which will again play well to the ESPN passion play for Trump supporters. In both cases, the Miami Heat will play the villain (which, in many ways, is deserved). It is the hated establishment, the conglomerate that did not make good to its employees and, in the end, deserves an unenviable fate.

It is familiar territory: It is how the Lebron James story was positioned back to Cleveland and it is being replayed this evening. But it is not because ESPN disrespects Miami (though many would disagree). It is just because the SportsLeader knows who to play to, on the television side, just like the Donald would do.