Despite being one of the top 1% income earners in the world, one could make a case that LeBron James could actually be the most underpaid athlete in professional sports. James earns $16 million per season, the 13th biggest salary in the NBA. Which means that there are 12 players making more money than LeBron…
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The Sportsbiz Weekly Buzz is a collection of articles curated by Sports Networker’s Online Marketing Coordinator – Steve Richards Sports Business Bankruptcy is ‘Wreckage’ From Years Of Drinking By Steinberg, The Real-life Jerry Maguire “Leigh Steinberg calls them ‘checkout days,’ when he would drink vodka from morning until night, often straight from the bottle. Divorced and…
On July 8, 2010, LeBron James announced a decision – a decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers as a free agent and join the Miami Heat for the next six seasons. Lebron has never made it a secret that he wants to win and win badly. Aren’t we all granted the freedom of choice to…
Before you read further, watch Nike’s latest commercial, “Rise,” featuring LeBron James.
Since most of you already know the story, I’ll make this as quick as I can. Feel free to skip through if you know the background. The last four or five months have been interesting for the King. After seven years in Cleveland and no championship rings, LeBron James decided it was time to leave.
In a prime time ESPN event called The Decision, LeBron announced to the world that he would be “taking [his] talents to South Beach” to play for the Miami Heat. Cavs fans were furious, their hometown hero (LBJ is from Akron, Ohio) was leaving them, having never delivered the championship he promised.
Basketball fans from all over were upset as well, mainly with how LeBron decided to handle the announcement. Even though the money raised during the show was then donated to the Boys & Girls Club of America, most thought it was a pretentious and selfish way to announce his decision.
Throughout the offseason, LeBron has come under a lot of fire. He’s been called out for quitting on his team in the playoffs, for leaving Cleveland, for The Decision. Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ owner, publicized a nasty letter about LeBron.
Recently, LBJ came out and said he thought that all of the backlash from The Decision was partially a race issue, and that if he were of a different skin color, none of this would have been a big deal. Also, in the past few weeks, LeBron has retweeted several hateful and derogatory tweets, examples of messages he says he receives every day.
In the end, LeBron’s image has changed from a beloved NBA superstar, a hometown hero, and possibly the one-day greatest basketball player of all time to the biggest villain in the league (yes, above Kobe, he’s going to get booed everywhere he goes), a selfish superstar who betrayed his city for more money (smaller contract, bigger endorsements), more fame, and an easier championship ring.
The Miami Heat were not the only ones who came out big winners during the LeBron sweepstakes, as the Boys and Girls Club of America also did an excellent job of increasing their brand awareness during “The Decision.”
I swore to myself before the start of the NBA free-agency period that I wouldn’t write about LeBron James. Sports media are putting in enough hours of coverage about his team status, for all of us.
I realized, however, that I work in and write about sports publicity and PR, and since James announced he would share his intentions of what team he’ll join for the next few years in an hour-long broadcast on ESPN, his story became a good PR/bad PR story.
Over the past year, Twitter has shown us its incredible power when it comes to talking about and sharing “breaking news” and current events (not just in sports). For example, last year’s Iranian presidential elections completely dominated Twitter for a number of weeks, and became the medium for finding out what was happening in the Middle East. Other major news events, like the Hudson River plane crash and Michael Jackson’s death, have proven the same.
July 1 marked the start of one of the biggest summers in the history of the National Basketball Association. A number of the league’s premier players, including LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwayne Wade, became free agents. 2010 NBA free agency has been quite an experience, and Twitter has truly given fans an insight into free agency unlike we’ve ever had before. Like the events mentioned previously, Twitter has completely altered who controls the messaging and the way we gather information.
It’s no surprise that sports teams all over the world are realizing the power of 140 characters or less. Twitter allows organizations to keep their fan base updated on events, stories, and up to the minute scoring, which has resulted in a growth of the number of followers for certain teams. Teams in major sports markets…