The fact is that his brand took flight the day he was proclaimed “King James.” With no NBA championship rings on his finger, that name has taken a hit in recent days. If my Twitter followers are any indication, his brand is a punch line right now. (I have to thank the tweeps for keeping me laughing with one-liners that highlights this and their own fake announcements.)
If I were his PR agent, I would advise James to quickly announce a contract with his current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, or a new one, a la Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, and go about his life. Modesty goes a long way toward credibility and respect and right now, he’s not getting much of it. He might slam a mean dunk, but his individual, not team-minded leap to the NBA throne does little to stem the current reaction. Even his most ardent fans are talking about his ego, not his play.
James is a dynamic basketball player who even if he had a professional title, I would advise to keep his enormity in check. We have learned, every Superman, with the exception of the one created by DC Comics, could be here and gone in a flash – and not just the athlete on the field and court. Egos that grab the stage before their titles catch up – if they catch up – tend to fizzle.
To be clear, I thrive on creative and funky promotions as well as the most extensive media exposure available; earning that attention motivates me everyday. I maintain, however, that businesses enjoy credentials before we label them the best in their leagues. James is a business – a brand. I think people want to love him, not resent his ego.
Ken Fang, creator of FangsBites, reminded his Twitter followers that multi-ring earner Michael Jordan quietly faxed two words to announce he was returning to the NBA in 1995. Jordan had the hardware to announce his comeback from Mount Rushmore, but didn’t.
Maybe our society of reality television and entitlement has led to this LeBronisty. In my years of work in the sports industry, however, I think you have to earn it before you own it.