LeBron James -- Public Relations Genius
Like Lindsay Lohan weeping at her sentencing, sportswriters and journalistic purists are sobbing in their beer that LeBron James has been allowed to call all the shots about his next NBA destination.
“How dare he,” they moan, “hijack the league, the process, and even a TV network to selfishly control his announcement. He’s never won a championship and doesn’t deserve the attention.” I’ve got two words for ‘em: Ba Loney!
LeBron James is veritable public relations genius.
The NBA must be ecstatic at the way he has dominated the news cycle and brought new and positive attention on the league and the game. Commissioner David Stern should erect a statue in King James’ honor.
Consider the following:
• This evening, millions of viewers will be tuned to ESPN to see a sports super star press conference that doesn’t concern rape, adultery, gun possession or drugs. (Not to mention, dog fighting.) Hallelujah!
• All advertising revenues from the performance will be donated by LeBron to the Boys & Girls Club of America.
• The superstar’s decision will instantaneously rejuvenate one American city – New York? Chicago? Miami? – as the center of the sports universe.
• If Miami is the “winner,” look for the creation of an instant marketing dynasty of the new “NBA Three Musketeers” consisting of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
• And if Cleveland is the “loser,” look to LeBron to be magnanimous not only with kind words, but also with a significant donation and commitment to a Cleveland charity.
In other words, LeBron James, despite his young age and huge fortune, has always been a “good guy” and even, dare I say it, a “role model.” Consequently, the impact of this announcement tonight on the league, the sport, the cities, and James himself is all good.
So who cares if he’s controlled the agenda and “hijacked” the news of the day?
Would you rather focus on LeBron’s coronation or on oil spewing from the Gulf of Mexico, bumbling Russian spies, or Al Gore’s sex-poodling?
I say, “Good for LeBron.”
All hail the King!
Fraser P. Seitel has been a communications consultant, commentator, author and teacher for 40 years. He teaches public relations at NYU and is the author of the Prentice- Hall textbook "The Practice of Public Relations," now in its eleventh edition, and co-author of "Idea Wise."
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