MIAMI - JULY 09: LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat smiles during a press conference after a welcome party at American Airlines Arena on July 9 2010 in Miami Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
LeBron James divided us. Fake LeBron James brought us back together.
It began on July 7, 2010, just one day before The Decision.
With style, flash, and his now patented all-caps print, he unleashed himself on the unsuspecting Twitter world.
And it was to the written word what this is to basketball.
140 CHARACTERS? YOU CRAZY TWITTER. ONLY ONE CHARACTER YOU NEED: ME! YEAH SUCKAS. NOW CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE.
Less than a day later, he was already in full stride.
HOW DO I RETWEET MYSELF?
30,000+ followers later, he had our attention.
Chris O'Shea is LeBron James' Ego. Or should I say was LeBron James' Ego. After a little over 11 months of brags, boasts and laughs, the mastermind behind one of the NBA's most popular parody accounts is ready to call it quits. He of course didn't wrap it up without ending on two triumphant high notes...
YET ANOTHER GREAT SEASON YOU'RE WELCOME.
And, finally, his last words.
LET ME CLARIFY MY STATEMENT FROM LAST NIGHT: YES YOUR LIFE IS SAD ALL THE TIME BUT U WILL DIE ONE DAY SO THAT'S GOOD.
For NBA fans frustrated and upset with LeBron James' almost unarguable lack of self-awareness, LeBron James' Ego was the perfect remedy. From The Decision to the Welcome Party to the regular season to the playoffs, fake LeBron James was there to chronicle every step of the Miami Heat's ultimately doomed season. He cut tension, eased the frustrating moments and clumsily attempted to justify any and all of James' many tribulations. But this past Wednesday, O'Shea clicked off the caps lock, broke character and released a three-part statement saying he had reached the end of this comedic journey.
Hey everyone, thanks for reading, but that's a wrap. I think the story has come full circle. No more tweets. But again, thanks for the love.
If you want to keep up with me, as The Great LeBron would say, my talents can be found here: @ChrisJOShea.
I had a chance to do a Q&A with Chris O'Shea regarding his legendary Twitter handle, and here's what went down...
SBN: Before we get this started, what is your honest to goodness opinion of LeBron James?
Chris O'Shea: Well, I actually think people have been a little too hard on him. I know it's odd for me to say that, but I stopped being mad about The Decision about a month or two after it aired. For all the dumb things he does - and he does plenty - he's still never been arrested, never got busted for driving while drunk, etc. I think he's just very immature, but he's not a bad guy.
SBN: So, according to your personal Twitter bio, you're a writer from New York?
Chris O'Shea: I'm originally from Pittsburgh, bounced around a few times, but yes, I live in Brooklyn, and I'm a freelance writer. I've lived here for about seven years now. Brooklyn (not Manhattan) is the best place on Earth, there is no doubt about it.
SBN: Are you a Cavs fan? Knicks fan? NBA fan?
Chris O'Shea: I'm a Knicks fan. I love the NBA. NFL is my favorite (Steelers, of course), but the NBA is a close second.
SBN: You're a Knicks fan who started it before the Decision. Had he joined your team, do you think you would have continued to mock him?
SBN: Have you been interviewed for this before? I tried to dig up some research, but it was mostly just quotes directly from the Twitter feed...
Chris O'Shea: I've been asked about it, but most of the requests were for me to answer in LBJEgo's voice, which I always thought was stupid, so I turned them down. Now that I'm being interviewed, I think it's clear that I am as famous as George Clooney. Or Biggie. Either one.
SBN: People really expected you to be interviewed in the LBJ Ego voice?
SBN: What would you say your ultimate goal with this Twitter handle was? Because, in a way, it essentially chronicled everything from The Decision, to the regular season turmoil, to the playoff breakthrough and eventual NBA Finals failure. It's nothing if not a comedic time capsule.
Chris O'Shea: Ha, well thanks. I think I just wanted to poke fun at LeBron and how oblivious he seems at times. It was weird, because when he first came into the league he was very savvy, said all the right things, and so on. I remember thinking that he was just so perfect. But then, slowly, cracks began to show, and then The Decision happened. From there it was like, "How does he not know this isn't a good thing to do/say?" So I just tried to have fun with that.
SBN: Did it go on longer or shorter than you anticipated?
Chris O'Shea: Much longer. I thought I was going to stop once the season began, but then they lost all those games in a row, and it was just too easy for me.
SBN: What would you say is the most prominent tweet from the batch?
Chris O'Shea: Most prominent? I really don't know. Maybe the one I recently tweeted about Pippen's MJ comments? People seemed to love that one.
SBN: What was your favorite?
Chris O'Shea: Maybe some of the ones right before The Decision. It's funny, sometimes ones I thought were good, no one else did. I think it was Norm McDonald who once said the best jokes are those that start and end by saying almost the exact same thing, and I always kind of liked those tweets. Like an early one was "COULDN'T DECIDE WHAT TO EAT SO I JUST HAD 17 DELIVERY GUYS COME TO MY CRIB. I CHOSE THAI BECAUSE I KNEW I WAS THE BEST AT CHOOSING LUNCHES."
SBN: When it first started, did you go out of your way to promote it? Was it RTs from the whole Twitter community? What caused this thing to explode in the way that it did?
Chris O'Shea: I didn't really promote. I did mention it to my followers on my personal account, and then I emailed it to Gothamist. They linked it, and that might have been the tipping point.
SBN: Any athletes or writers that followed/enjoyed the Twitter that you enjoyed?
SBN: One of my favorite things about LBJ's Ego was it's essentially a win-win. When LBJ failed, your words supplemented the failure. When he succeeded -- like when the Heat toppled the Bulls, for example -- it helped take the sting out of things when you tweeted, "I'M ABOUT TO GET A HELL OF A LOT MORE ANNOYING." The set up of everything was about perfect.
Chris O'Shea: Yeah well that was what kept me tweeting - sometimes LeBron would do something, or the Heat would do something, and it was just so easy.
SBN: Your personal twitter feed has just short of 1,000 followers. LeBron James' ego is over 30,000. Did you find that ironic? Discouraging?
Chris O'Shea: Nah, I don't really care much. I will say that LBJEgo got me a lot of followers, so that was cool. But you know, if anyone follows me I'm grateful. I'm just some dude in Brooklyn, you know? Hopefully what I tweet is funny or interesting enough to keep people around.
SBN: From the looks of it, you started this Twitter feed on July 7, 2010 -- one day before The Decision. Was that your inspiration?
Chris O'Shea: Yup, that was it. I remember hearing about it and talking to my friend and saying, "This guy must have the biggest ego." Right after that I set up the account. I never, ever, imagined Sports Illustrated, Time, Comedy Central, and other sites would be talking about it. It was very surreal.
SBN: Kanye West notoriously wrote in all-caps for a while. Did he factor into your inspiration for making the LBJ Ego tweets completely capitalized?
Chris O'Shea: Yeah, that was definitely an inspiration. I will never understand how anyone can type in all caps. It's like, have they ever lived in the world? Have they ever even seen a cereal box? There is no all caps writing. Anywhere! So I always am just astonished that people think that's a normal thing to do.
SBN: Why did you decide to end this glorious Twitter handle?
Chris O'Shea: I just really think there's not much more to say. It was perfect that the Heat lost. It was sports karma at its best. And to be honest, I felt like James was getting a little too much hate, and even though whatever I contributed to it was minor, I thought enough was enough. Plus, no one likes sticking around too long. I didn't want to be Joe Montana playing for the Chiefs. I wonder how Montana feels about me comparing a fake Twitter account to his hall of fame career.
SBN: Do you see yourself completely retiring it for good, or will you possibly get the itch and still fire one off from time to time?
Chris O'Shea: Nope, that's it. It was fun while it lasted and I am really appreciative of all the nice things people have said about it, but that's all. I'm not going to delete it, but no more tweets.
SBN: How many followers would you estimate you personally gained from the Twitter?
Chris O'Shea: I have no idea, but the day I quit it I got like 300. So thanks LeBron!
* * *
While we probably should have given Chris the last word, what kind of article would this be if we didn't give the last word to LeBron James' Ego? So we'll do just that -- LeBron James' Ego, on Cleveland:
BACK TO CLEVELAND TONIGHT. SO MANY MEMORIES. I MISS ALL THOSE PLACES I PRETEND TO MISS.
We'll miss you, LBJE. And we won't be pretending.
July 7, 2010 - June 15, 2011 ... He Gone.