I just shook my head and mentally shook LeBron James by the collar when I read his tweet directed at critics, yesterday: “Don’t think for one min(ute) that I haven’t been taking mental notes of everyone taking shots at me this summer. And I mean everyone!”
(For the record, I wouldn’t lay a hand on a man three-times my size, especially if I was coaching him.)
Ok, so I guess I won’t be invited to his South Beach Christmas Bash. Oh, well….
Missed drinks donning umbrellas with The Decided aside, James is still a young player in the NBA. He has no championship rings and he still has lots of endorsements to sign before he comes close to Michael Jordan, the star basketball player he has been most compared. James’ endorsements may even trail Tiger Woods’.
Acting like a bully won’t help James’ cause. Let’s face it, he needs the money, based on a story in my local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how much it costs to be a professional athlete. Additional endorsements could help James better live the lifestyle in his new home city, too.
More importantly, acting like a bully and making his pulpit a threatening one only enhances an image etched into public minds earlier this summer: James the Ego.
As a PR agent and publicist, I’ve long coached people in sports that if they develop and live an honest and generous lifestyle and speak clearly and with passion, endorsements will follow. I’d like to amend that statement: if your honest lifestyle is one of threats and me-centric comments, sponsors, especially in today’s market where companies are more conscious than ever about image, you may attract more negative comments than big-dollar deals.
What do James’ accusatory/threatening social media post tell you about the athlete?