BrandDunk

Branding the World of Sports

LeBron’s brand is on the line with his NBA decision

Posted by ZA on July 2, 2010

Now is the time for LeBron James.  This is one of those moments that will shape his legacy.  It won’t be “the moment” which will presumably happen the next time(s) he is playing for an NBA Championship.  But his decision this Summer on free agency will set the path for the next stage of his basketball career.  Will King James stay in Cleveland?  Will LeBron jump to the Bulls, Clippers, Heat, Knicks, Nets or other?  No one knows right now, probably not even LeBron.  So for now we are all witnesses to LeBron’s free agency frenzy.

One key aspect of LeBron’s decision that I feel deserves more attention is: how will LeBron’s decision shape his public image?  LeBron is not just a basketball superstar, he is a global brand.  So he, and his team, have to think bigger than basketball in this decision.  They need to think about which option will give him the best chance to win on the court, but they also need to consider what will help promote his brand and how the public will react to his decision.

I think Michael Rosenberg nails the public perception part of this decision in his CNNSI commentary.  Rosenberg’s comparison of LeBron’s decision to those of other sports superstars Shaq and A-Rod is quite shrewd.  Alex Rodriguez went to New York and won a ring, but the public will always see these Yankees teams as Derek Jeter’s team.  If LeBron goes to Miami to play with Dwayne Wade, then he becomes A-Rod to Wade as Jeter.  Rosenberg goes on to detail why James going to Chicago would cause similar issues for how he’s viewed by sports fans.  Rosenberg basically concludes that the best option for LeBron’s brand image is to stay in Cleveland and win.  I agree, and think this is a must read article.

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2 Responses to “LeBron’s brand is on the line with his NBA decision”

  1. Quite true, his decision on what team to choose will definitely create an impact not only the NBA league game, but also NBA merchandises.

  2. Chris Ross said

    Very well written article and a great blog you got over here! With Amare going to the Knicks there is obviously a much better chance for Lebron to go there but I still don’t think it would be championship calibre. I think it is foolish for the Knicks to take on Amare if they want to win an NBA championship. He is obviously very talented but I think that there are a lot of flaws in his game that won’t allow his team to translate to an NBA championship. Also, you think you could check out my blog cuz I really want to know what you think. http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/take-a-stupid-pill-sign-amare/

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