Let me start by saying that LeBron James is doing just fine for himself. LeBron can pretty much do whatever he wants (e.g. get dunked on at his own camp and confiscate the video, walk off the court without shaking hands after losing the Eastern conference finals, back out of the Slam Dunk Competition) and people will still love him. The LBJ brand is very much intact and thriving. The man has tons of endorsements. However, is “doing just fine” good enough for the most exciting and athletic player in the game right now? LeBron has never settled for “just fine,” so why start now?
That’s not to say that LeBron James owes us anything. His play on the court is an absolute spectacle. I’ve never seen anyone like him. He’s exciting, unselfish, and completely dynamic. So, whatever LBJ chooses to do is up to him. All I’m saying is, I think LeBron could take it up another notch. I can’t imagine the kind of pressure on an athlete like LeBron James is under. But he’s chosen the path of greatness, a lot is expected of great people.
Slam Dunk Contest
Did you see LeBron throwing those dunks down in the All-Star Game? Wow! As impressive as they were, all I could think about is that I wish he would have pulled them out Saturday night during the Dunk Contest.
I’m calling out LeBron. Last year, during the 2009 Slam Dunk Contest, LBJ said he was putting his name in for the 2010 competition. For nearly a year, we anticipated LeBron’s performance in this year’s contest. What would he pull out of his bag of tricks? Then, in January, LBJ announced he would not participate.
I can’t say I was surprised, but I was definitely disappointed. I don’t think anyone knows for sure why LeBron decided not to stick with the competition (complicated entry form, anybody?), nor did anyone make too much of a big deal about it. It’s possible LBJ thought he couldn’t live up to expectations, that if he entered and lost the Slam Dunk Contest, he would lose some of his aura and give the haters more fuel. I know the argument, that LeBron has far more to lose than to gain from participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, but I don’t buy it.
LBJ is the most athletic person I’ve ever seen, and the other night, during the All Star Game, he pulled out the dunks we all wish we’d seen the night before. No offense to Gerald Wallace, Shannon Brown, and even Nate Robinson, but you guys just don’t cut it. Everyone in the world wants to see a Slam Dunk Contest featuring Lebron James (and D-Wade and Dwight Howard). So, let’s see it in 2011, LBJ. No excuses.
This about says it all:
LeBronJames.com is a parked GoDaddy.com site.
Twitter.com/LeBronJames is an inactive account with 7,000 followers.
While Facebook.com/LeBronJames has 1.6 million fans, the last post was nearly four months ago, and LeBron clearly doesn’t run the page. So, he has 1.6 million fans, and that’s with close to zero involvement!
In a world where athletes are getting involved with social media, producing content, and interacting with fans, some of the biggest stars (e.g. LeBron, Kobe, Tiger, Peyton) are absent. As I mentioned earlier, LeBron has no responsibility to any of us to do anything apart from what he feels like doing. But if he truly wants to become the greatest, most memorable and likable athlete ever, social media can be his friend. LeBron has 1.6 million fans on Facebook, with little involvement. Imagine where he could be were he actually interacting and producing content.
Sports’ superstars often hide behind a curtain. Tiger Woods, for example, was one of the most private athletes in our world until it was discovered he was cheating on his wife with several mistresses (so, maybe for good reason). LeBron has a chance to change that stereotype. He has the opportunity to become the most beloved athlete of all time, yet he’s passing it up.
The sports world has been forever changed by social media. Fifteen years ago, when Michael Jordan was dominating the basketball scene and signing endorsement deals, he was doing all he could really, for his brand. Now, we live in a world where athletes can take it to the next level, by utilizing the Internet to create their own content and connect with their fans. LeBron James has a chance to be the best ever on the court. He gets better every year, and pretty soon there will be no way to argue whether or not he’s the best in the game (I don’t see how you can argue it now). He’s incredibly charismatic and likable (as opposed to a certain superstar who rocks the purple and gold). But if LBJ wants to be a truly revolutionary athlete, the most beloved of all time, he needs to be doing even more.
LBJ, we need to see you in the Dunk Contest next year. And you need to start utilizing social media. There is no reason not to. With just a little extra work, you can propel your fame to heights we’ve never seen, you can truly connect with your fans, and to be perfectly honest, you can command more money. I absolutely love what you do, I’m a huge fan (borderline fanboy) but please think about it, because you’re missing a massive opportunity.
What do you think about LeBron James? Were you disappointed that he dropped out of the Slam Dunk Contest? Would you like to see him utilizing social media? Do you think he’s doing enough?