Time magazine lists cover-subject LeBron James as its #1 athlete to watch in Beijing, ahead of sure-fire Olympic star Michael Phelps, ageless wonder Dara Torres and Chinese Olympians Liu Xiang, Yao Ming and Guo Jingjing. This is the biggest list travesty since Rolling Stone declared Sgt. Pepper's as the greatest album of all-time.
LeBron might not even be the most compelling player on U.S.A. Basketball, let alone of the 10,000+ athletes competing in Beijing. Despite all the commercials, articles and coverage of him, LeBron isn't too interesting of a character. Outside of Cleveland (and the Washington Wizards locker room), LeBron doesn't inspire extreme reaction of either side of the spectrum. With Kobe Bryant you either love him or hate him. LeBron is just sort of 'meh'.
It's doubtful that people who watch U.S.A. Basketball games will be doing so just to see LeBron. They'll be watching to see a team of NBA stars try to recapture the gold medal for their country. Conversely, every event that Michael Phelps is in is a must-watch event because of Phelps. The 110-meter hurdle finals will be huge because China's favorite son, Liu Xiang, will be running in front of 100,000 of his countrymen.
(And, by the way, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde is clearly the best album ever, narrowly edging out Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em.)