To make this blog post more global let me explain the influence of the US basketball star LeBron James. LeBron is to US basketball what Lionel Messi is to Argentina and what England fans wish Wanye Rooney was for England this summer.
LeBron has spent the last seven years playing for his hometown team the Cleveland Cavaliers and is yet to win a championship. He is now a free agent and understandably is looking for pastures new because he really wants to win something.
In fact, he has spent all summer looking very publicity for pastures new. He has been criss-crossing the US looking for a new team to join and being very vocal about his courting – pun intended.
Besides the World Cup, “Where will LeBron go” has been the dominate talking point on the sports and even front pages of US papers. The whole saga will come to a head tonight when LeBron announces on live TV – presidential address style – which team he will be playing for next season.
How ridiculous! Or is it PR genius?
Everyone is talking about LeBron, even those like myself who stopped watching the NBA a long time ago are talking about it. If I was still living in North America, I am pretty sure that I would be watching his little announcement begrudgingly.
As Karen Crouse of the New York Times put it, “LeBron James and his handlers are attempting to hijack the American sporting public's attention.” To be truthful they are just doing that – but will it come at a cost?
LeBron has up until now been seen as a ‘down-to-earth’ NBA player, and this really isn’t down-to-earth behaviour. It is turning some fans off of the once loveable and relatable star, even though he has asked ESPN to give all advertising revenue from the special to charity.
I think this will call come down to how he reveals his choice. If he comes out in a cloud of smoke wearing a sequined robe of some sort it will be downhill for LeBron in the eyes of his fans, regardless of which team he signs for and what he potentially wins.