Monday, June 01, 2009

A Little More on MeBron

The irony of LeBron's ending to the NBA playoffs is that he has worked so hard -- harder than he ever has on basketball -- on becoming a global brand.

In fact, you have to ask whether becoming a billion-dollar global brand is LeBron's No. 1 goal. Ahead of winning a championship (although that helps the goal). Certainly ahead of Ohio pride.

It makes it all the more fascinating that LeBron the Brand Manager would allow himself to mess up so royally by not shaking hands or facing the media after the Cavs' ouster.

Maybe it is a symbol of JUST HOW BAD LeBron wanted to win. But maybe it was more calculated manipulation. And maybe it was just a rare peek into the world of "MeBron."

For "MeBron," LeBron will always come first. Ahead of the Cavs. Ahead of Ohio, even Akron. Ahead of the NBA. Ahead of "the game of basketball" (ugh).

This is why I feel bad for Cavs fans who think that LeBron will stay in Cleveland -- or think he cares at all what the folks in Cleveland think. He will do what is best for LeBrand.

Perhaps why he was disappointed was because it feeds the LeBron brand that he -- the Chosen One -- would be the one to deliver a championship to long-blighted Cleveland.

But that's not about Cleveland or Cleveland fans -- once again, it's about LeBron advancing LeBron's place in the world.

It's funny how one small moment -- a snubbed handshake, an inability to answer questions about your role in a fairly sizeable defeat -- can do so much to erode the best brand in basketball.

While I will continue to marvel at LeBron's skills, I can't help but have this Saturday night thing change the way I think he should be viewed.

Obviously, in a few years it will be long-forgotten -- presuming he eventually wins an NBA title or few. But for now, it is more career-defining than anything else he has done.

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

Give the guy a break. What would you have done? You have never lost something that you worked hard at and felt disgusted and didn't want to talk to anybody right after it happened, I know I have.

He put the city/team on his shoulders and they lost. He was devastated and felt like this was the year. People expect him to be perfect all of the time, for me this just means he is human and has emotions just like the rest of us.

Unknown said...

i know this might ring true with you, but Tebow would not have done that. He would have stood up to the podium, he would have took the hands of the other players, he would have acted much more mature than LBJ. For all of his gifts as an athlete, media man and overall spectacle, Lebron does have a lot of growing up to do. This was an immature moment for Lebron, actually this was an immature series for Mr. James. It appears the team came in overconfident and unprepared. For a team that played with so much confidence and continuity throughout the year, this team failed to come together when it was most needed. Did Lebron do it all on the court? Yes, but it was what he did off the court during the season that really made this team dangerous. I was never inside the locker room during the season, so I can not say there is any proof to my statements. However, I do know I was in that locker room for nearly the same about of time as Lebron after the game, (none), and that is more than telling.