Branding the World of Sports

Posts Tagged ‘lebron james’

What’s wrong with this picture? LeBron

Posted by ZA on July 9, 2010

Why is LeBron James the only one in the photo who isn’t smiling? I know that image has been photoshopped, but its ironic that they pictured the smiling Dwayne Wade and grinning Chris Bosh next to a sullen looking LeBron because I think King James really is unhappy.  I think this entire free agency process, James decision to leave Cleveland and now the backlash are weighing heavily on LeBron’s shoulders.

I think LeBron is probably second guessing a lot of the decisions he’s made lately.  James isn’t going to change his mind on playing in Miami, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he would like a mulligan.  LeBron clearly never expected this decision would make him a villain, something that I think is eating away at LeBron inside.  He was clearly anxious last night at having to deliver such a tough message (bye bye Cleveland) on national television, but I expected King James to lighten up after announcing his decision.  James never did lighten up and instead seemed distracted and upset.  There was a lot going on, but I think LeBron realized for the first time yesterday that this transition is going to change who the public’s opinion of him.  He’s always been Lovable LeBron and now he’s the guy that NBA fans are going to root against.  And he can’t even “go home” because he’s now public enemy #1 in Ohio.

What should LeBron have done?
* Stayed in Cleveland to try to win a Championship.  Or go to New York City and revive that franchise by winning a Championship.  I thought the competitor in James would drive him to beat guys like DWade and Bosh, not team up with them.

* Met with the Cleveland ownership face-to-face to thank them and tell them that he was leaving.  I would hope that if James didn’t have sense to do that, at least one of his well paid agents would have made sure that happened.  My opinion of Maverick Carter could not be lower after watching how he’s handled the last few weeks of LeBron’s free agency circus.

* Not schedule a one-hour television special to announce his decision to the world.  There is a reason PR people exist in this world and this was the perfect time to use one.  Don’t play the “I’m bigger than everyone else” game by going on live TV to tell them where you are going to make your next $100 million.  Write a $1 million to charity (anonymously), met with Cleveland ownership, call other teams to deliver the news, turn over a statement to a publicity to release and then hop on your private jet for a vacation.

I think much of this will blow over in a few weeks and LeBron will be happy with his decision.  And I do think that James and company will win rings in Miami, but I don’t think this trio will last long-term in Miami.  James is 25 & DWade is 28; in 3-4 years the Miami Heat might have to make a decision who they want to resign.  I think they’ll choose LeBron due to age which will cause a rift that sends Wade packing for Chicago (his hometown, where he is still welcome).  LeBron might idle in Miami a couple of more seasons, but then eventually I think LeBron finishes his career in New York (Knicks or Brooklyn Nets).

Posted in Athletes, NBA | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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.

Posted in NBA | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Adidas making another push in NBA

Posted by ZA on October 15, 2009

Adidas trails way behind Nike when it comes to basketball.  Nike has more prominent NBA stars endorsing their product (e.g.- Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant) than Adidas, which has translated into much larger market share for Nike.  Nike has had so much success in the NBA that it even has it’s owned themed basketball shoes, the Jordan Brand.

But Adidas is content to concede the category to Nike and has launched a new campaign to promote the 3 stripes.  The new Adidas campaign is “celebrating basketball as a brotherhood” and features Adidas’ most prominent NBA endorsement stars; Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Derrick Rose.  Adidas hopes that putting all of their big names together in these segments will outshine any individual endorser that Nike has.  This campaign is an extension of their 2007 “Basketball is a brotherhood” theme.


Top NBA stars that endorse Adidas:
Gilbert Arenas
Chauncey Billups
Tim Duncan
Kevin Garnett
Tracy McGrady
Derrick Rose
Josh Smith

Top NBA endorsers for Nike:
Ray Allen (Jordan Brand)
Carmelo Anthony (Jordan Brand)
Kobe Bryant
Kevin Durant
Blake Griffin (rookie)
Richard Hamilton (Jordan Brand)
Lebron James
Joe Johnson (Jordan Brand)
Chris Paul (Jordan Brand)
Dwayne Wade (Jordan Brand)

Top NBA endorsers for Reebok:

Baron Davis
Allen Iverson
Al Jefferson
Yao Ming

Top NBA endorsers for Converse:
Kirk Hinrich
Elton Brand

Posted in Adidas, Apparel & Shoes, NBA, Nike | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Top 10 Richest Athletes in the World

Posted by ZA on July 1, 2009

The economies of the World may be slumping, but the business of sports is still booming.  The top leagues, teams and athletes will all still be pulling in plenty of money this year.  From rich team contracts, to astronomical earnings, to lucrative endorsement deals.  There will be lots of cash pouring into the bank accounts of the top athletes in sports.   But which athletes are the richest?  Which are the top earning athletes in the World today?  CNNSI has recently released their 2009 list of the Fortunate 50, which is a list of the 50 top earning athletes in the United States.  They also published their list of the top 20 earning International athletes.  Below is a compilation of the two lists, so it is a list of the top 10 earning athletes in the World today.

Top Earning Athletes in World:
1. Tiger Woods ($99MM)
2. Phil Mickelson ($52MM)
3. David Beckham ($45MM)
4. Lebron James ($42MM)
5. Kimi Raikkonen ($40.1MM)
6. Manny Pacquiao ($40MM)
7. Lionel Messi ($39.9MM)
8. Alex Rodriguez ($39MM)
9. Fernando Alonso ($35MM)
9. Valentino Rossi ($35MM)
9. Shaquille O’Neal ($35MM)
10. Kevin Garnett ($34.7MM)


Posted in Athletes, Endorsement Deals, Golf, Money, NBA, Soccer | Tagged: , , , | 29 Comments »

Nike launching new LeBron themed shoe

Posted by ZA on March 13, 2009

To pay tribute to the place where it all began for basketball superstar, LeBron James, Nike is going to release a new shoe.  The shoe will represent Akron, Ohio; which is LeBron’s hometown.

Nike's Akron themed shoe for LeBron James

Nike's Akron themed shoe for LeBron James

Nike has done a lot to support LeBron, who is one of their top endorsement stars.  They already did a few LeBron themed shoes that resembled a New York taxi cab and Rubber City at the House of Hoops in NYC.   I can’t wait to see what Nike does if LeBron does wind up playing for the New York Knicks in 2010.  They will probably release a whole line of new LeBron athletic apparel to celebrate his move to the top media market.

Posted in Apparel & Shoes, Athletes, NBA, Nike, Sports Brands, Sports Marketing | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »