David Stokes

With the imminent arrival of Major League Baseball’s perennial All-Star game, it just seems appropriate to pull out the old reliable analogy-stretching tool and apply it to a couple of items in the news. Let’s find the real—political—theme behind the headlines.

I’ll get to baseball in a bit—with my take on the politics of Stephen Strasburg—but first, the big story in the past day or so. It’s been the focus of frenzied media attention. Only a heavy-weight news story—like the one about that oft-quoted Lindsay Lohan—could distract any measure of attention from it: just where would LeBron James choose to play?

I have had many sleepless nights over that one. Forget about the gulf oil spill, or President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare (this is where many readers say, “who?” and/or “what?”), celebrity once again trumps gravitas, if not reality.

For those of you who have had a recent Rip Van Winkle moment, LeBron (he has surely now achieved one-name-only-needed status) is persona non grata in Cleveland at the moment—likely being put on their do-not-fly-here list. Former fans have burned number 23 jerseys and the owner of that city’s Cavaliers, for whom LeBron has played for the past seven years, has called LeBron’s big fat dis a “cowardly betrayal.”

LeBron has traded home for Heat—Miami Heat, that is. The official narrative is that it’s all about the opportunity to “be alongside greatness.” But there were other teams in the running for LeBron’s largesse that could have filled that bill. I actually think there is something else at play—politics—with a little help from that aforementioned analogy-stretcher.

It’s really all about taxes.

You see, LeBron—and all others making mega-money where he has been working must fork over nearly six per cent of it to the Buckeye state—no small piece of change. And the other major team/city in the running for the superstar has been New York, where the state income tax is ever higher. Plus there is also an emerging city income tax in the five burdened boroughs of the Big Apple.

Miami, for anyone who went to the Lauren Caitlin Upton School of Geography (she was Miss South Carolina Teen USA in 2007), is located in the State of Florida. The significance? Well, there is no state income tax in Florida—none—nada.

So there you have it, the real story, behind the story—here’s the headline: “LeBron’s Own Personal Tax Revolt.” Please note my tongue on the inside wall of my cheek.


David Stokes

David R. Stokes is a best-selling author, pastor, columnist, and broadcaster. His latest book is a novel: CAPITOL LIMITED: A Story about John Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Based on a true story, it's about a unique moment in 1947, when Kennedy and Nixon shared