3 GREAT STORIES: Starring LeBron, Seinfeld, & a special friendship

Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

LeBron: I’m coming back to Cleveland (7/11/14, Sports Illustrated): Sometimes telling a great story is simply about having the thing that everyone wants.

For two weeks, LeBron James had it.

Every sports fan — and plenty of non-sports fans, too — wanted to learn where the NBA’s greatest player would spend the rest of his career. Would he stay with the Miami Heat, the team with which he won two championships over the last four years? Or would he take his talents elsewhere?

James decided to go to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, and he announced his decision with a poignant, well-thought article on SI.com. He gave the scoop to Sports Illustrated writer Lee Jenkins, who transcribed James’ comments and turned them into a cogent work of writing.

The web site will likely draw record traffic this weekend, and it should. LeBron James gave everyone a reason to click.

25 thoughts on the 25th anniversary of the Seinfeld premiere (7/7/14, Grantland): Perhaps the only subject that received greater attention this week than the LeBron saga was the Seinfeld anniversary.

The show premiered 25 years ago this past week, and its anniversary generated quite a bit of content.

As a huge fan of the show, I sponged up the many articles written about its legacy, and I could have chosen several of them to appear in this space. But in the end, I went with a sprawl of a piece that hit on a number of different points.

Andy Greenwald did not try to drill down on one major thesis; he went across the board with a digestible article that provided links to other columns and plenty of embedded videos and highlights. Despite the well-trodden list format, Greenwald makes his points efficiently and with personality; he treats such a wide-influencing show with an expansive eye.

WWII vet forms unlikely friendship with preschooler (7/6/14, KARE-TV): I usually try, for the sake of variety, to avoid posting stories from the same people on back-to-back weeks.

But when the stories are this great, why bother?

The dynamic KARE-TV duo of Boyd Huppert and Jonathan Malat deliver another breathtaking piece, this one about the special friendship between an 89-year-old named Erling and a three-year-old named Emmett.

They are neighbors, and they adore each other.

If you work in local TV news, you can absolutely imagine a story with this premise getting shot down in a pitch meeting. Thank goodness Huppert and Malat receive the latitude to produce pieces like this. I don’t want to spoil its many beautiful moments; I will just say that these two storytellers perfectly capture an unlikely relationship, with writing and photographic techniques that should be taught to young journalists everywhere.

Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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