Wednesday, July 21st, 2010 at 5:20 pm  |  108 responses

Brand Management

LeBron James is the least most popular man alive. Here’s what that might mean.

by Farmer Jones / @thefarmerjones

This morning I read a story about Facebook. The story cites a recent survey by something called the American Customer Satisfaction Index; among the survey’s findings are that Facebook’s public approval numbers are comparable to those of cable companies and airlines, ranking Facebook among the least publicly approved companies among humans who respond to calls or emails from companies that conduct surveys.

The story makes passing reference to the fact that Facebook just reached 500 million users.

Also this morning, I read a story about Apple. The story opens with references to the fact that Apple has a new phone with an antenna that doesn’t work, or something, and also the coverage for this phone isn’t very good, and plus they’re arrogant. It seems people don’t like Apple very much right now.

The actual point of the story is to highlight Apple’s third-quarter earnings: Over the past three months, the company made $3.25 billion.

In profit.

I’ve tried to stop reading stories about LeBron James, but most of the ones I’ve read in the past couple of weeks — as well, in part, as the one I wrote — have focused on how unpopular LeBron James has become. The main thing that has made him unpopular is that TV show he was on week before last.

The one that was the third most-watched show on cable this year.

102771911_display_imagePopularity is a funny word.

Facebook is terribly unpopular, and yet everyone is on it. “Apple is hugely unpopular” is a phrase my Mac keyboard just enabled me to type. LeBron is unpopular, but damned if we’re not all still talking about him.

Branding is another funny word.

You know who has a brand? Michael. His sells shoes with his silhouette on them. Also underwear, and a popular thirst-quencher. Magic has a brand, too. His has sold lots of stuff, but now mostly sells predatory loans to poor people. It also rents shitty furniture to poor people, both because poor people can’t always buy stuff, and because Magic is versatile.

LeBron learned a lot from these guys. Some of it he has replicated, and some of it he has not. Among the things LeBron has not done that Michael and/or Magic have done are a) drafting Kwame Brown and b) hosting The Magic Hour.

But he did choose to star in The Decision, which might fairly be compared to hiring Kwame Brown to host a late-night talk show.

Among the things LeBron hasn’t done that Michael and Magic have that he’d actually really like to do… well, there’s just the one, isn’t there? He hasn’t led a team to an NBA championship, and now, the prevailing logic says, he never will. Oh, he might win a title or two or seven, but he’ll never be the clear-cut man on such a team, and to the media, and to serious basketball fans like us, that’s important. That matters.

(It apparently matters to Michael and Magic, too. I’m not under the impression these guys held press conferences to announce their thoughts on the subject, so I have no problem with them responding when asked about LeBron’s move. But here, inspired by some Twitter exchanges last night and this morning, is my beef: The MJs didn’t offer “opinions” on LeBron’s move — they offered judgment. When Jordan says there’s “no way” he would’ve called Bird or Magic to team up, and when Magic says “that’s not what we were about,” it’s judgment on a situation they cannot relate to. They can’t relate to being seven years into a career with an undermanned team that has no reasonable hope for substantial improvement, even while the teams around them are able to strengthen their rosters. They were never in a comparable situation for a comparable amount of time. They don’t have to like it, and they’re free to say so, but for guys so famously committed to winning to proclaim they were above such a move is meaningless bullshit neither of them can ever prove.

Also, they both played on the Dream Team, and I don’t remember them apologizing for that.

But I digress.)

So, yeah, it matters. It matters that LeBron “took the easy way out.” It matters that he’ll never been seen as “the man,” and therefore never considered on the same plane as guys like Mike and Magic and even, yes, Kobe Bryant. It matters to us, who write and watch and analyze. It matters to us, the noisy minority, and we don’t matter at all.

It’s been fun the past couple weeks to hammer not only LeBron but his “team,” and most of it has certainly seemed deserved. But more and more, I’m wondering if they actually got it right. I’m wondering if they’re the only ones taking the long view. And I’m wondering if our clattering little club forgets who and what we are. We are not ESPN, certainly. We are not in charge of the history books, at least not the ones anyone but us will read. We are people who judge for ourselves and each other, but we lack any real influence or control; we only influence each other, and we don’t control shit.

I’m wondering if LeBron and his people don’t completely get this. I’m wondering if, as many of us expect, they’ll stack a half dozen chips over the next eight or nine years, and simply by winning (and maybe averaging that triple-double some of us are half-expecting) and staying out of any actual trouble — you know, breaking laws and shit, as opposed to just offending our collective sporting morals — LeBron will stand in 10 years as exactly what he most wants to be: the biggest brand (and wealthiest man) in global basketball, and one of the best players in the history of the game.

Because he was probably never going to catch Jordan anyway — because no one is ever likely to — “one of” will have to be enough.

And for those of us who will do our damnedest to remember everything that “happened” this summer, we will do well also to remember who we are: powerless. We’re a silly little bunch of hardcore fans, and the marketing partners pay us no mind. We hate the brand but consume the product. We hate Facebook and Apple, and now we all hate LeBron.

How’s that going for us, anyway?

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  • Richard

    Where some have tried to characterize lebron’s tv special and move as cowardly and attention seeking, i think the only word that describes the decision is “sane.”

  • http://www.twitter.com/kevinchung Kevin

    great article.. much of what i thought but never put into words.

  • Lewis

    Kudos for having the cojones to argue people should stop reading your own site.

  • Mike

    Good Article. MJ did say, its a different time. So I think its unfair to judge MJ as judging LBJ.

    LBJ and the media built a persona about LBJ. About being the man. We don’t know LBJ on a personal level, just what is fed to us. So when someone acts outside of a character that were were programed to know, it pushes people into disarray.

    I disagree about Cleveland. They had all the weapons to be an NBA Championship team. They were one good coach away from it. Had LBJ stayed and with B.Scott, I think it would’ve worked. You don’t win back to back 60+ games and have a crap team. Sure, Cleveland will probably suck now, but it was built to sustain a major component. That major component is now gone so it won’t function as planned.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    Fantastic, Mr. Jones. I think there have been very few writers out there that have fully understood the things we have seen this summer. You are clearly one of those cats.

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Great Read…spot on.

  • Overtime

    If you dont like facebook/apple, dont use them…job done

  • T-Money

    Eff you Ryan for saying in a concise and eloquent way what I’ve been trying to say for a solid week in the comments secion. I’m hating.

  • Brandon

    Good read. DreamTeam was still, as it was for Michael, Magic, Larry, and even Isaiah in their respective NBA uniforms, a matter of pride. Arguably, David Stern has changed the idea of basketball from a sport to sports entertainment. Just as a soccer player flops to get the opposing player a penalty, its the same in the NBA: flopping to get to the free-throw line. Its entertainment. Lebron is probably the best sports entertainer the world has ever seen. I believe Lebron has OFFICIALLY moved basketball from the beloved era of ‘competitive pride’ to simply just ‘win at any cost’ but I am one of the first people to understand Lebrons move from the get-go: (Like you said) He is doing it to become an NBA-comparison of Tiger Woods, in wealth. Period.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    Jones, you’re mostly right and this was a brilliant read like usual. But I think you’re underestimating how much Jordan can relate. His bulls were 34 and 48 then 30 and 52 then improved to 40 and 42. I’m not going to list every season but I did look up the records and none of the teams won more 65 games , and none of the teams went any more than 4 deep as far as quality players go. I think he can understand perfectly what Lebron was feeling. The difference of course is that free agency is completely different and Lebron had an opportunity that Mike never had. But I still think he wanted to see it through to the finish and win one in his own city on his own terms. He wanted to be remembered as the greatest of all time and win multiple titles as the man. Maybe those aren’t Lebron’s aspirations, maybe he just wants to win which is commendable. I think the general consensus is that expectations were higher than this for Lebron. We wanted the triple doubles, the tens of thousands of points , and multiple titles. We wanted to see someone distance himself from the pack in a way that shattered everyone’s idea of greatest ever. He has the talent, but I think his mind was never really there. I was on the Bron bandwagon for awhile, I said right here on this webspace that I thought he could probably lead the league in scoring , rebounding and assists. I’d rather see him win and humble himself the way he has. Even if he didn’t do the humbling part on purpose it has happened. Magic was drafted into his situation and got lucky with the drafting of Worthy , so he doesn’t get it.Mike positively does, and I agree with him. I want to see superstars beat each other and trash talk on the golf course over the summer. Be friends in the offseason, be friends like Wilt and Russell and have dinners, but try and crush each other on the floor. I know you’re a Kobe hater and I’m a Lebron hater but in this instance I think the comparison is valid. Kobe wants two things, championships and to be regarded on a higher level than his peers, he wants to be in the conversation of g.o.a.t. and in order to do that he knows he has to beat his opponents convincingly and create distance between his legacy and theirs. It’s hard to do that when you’re playing on the same team. I actually respect his final decision and the drive for a title , just not his execution.

  • http://www.facebook.com 9Steele9

    GREAT GREAT read

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    Miami Heat: “They see me rollin…they hatin…”

  • http://freshnproper.com Q

    Agreed, nice work Ryan.

  • Peter

    I’m with Bryan…Jordan’s first 7 years were actually LESS successful than Lebrons…no finals appearance for one. Maybe they were a more steady progression towards a championship but Lebron has had more team success than most over his first 7 years. He hasn’t been on the Clippers.

  • Groves

    i’m in almost 100% agreeance.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    I’m pretty sure Michael Jordan’s 7th season ended with an NBA championship.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ryan Jones

    And thanks everyone for reading. Except Bryan.

  • Charles Breen

    Thank you. You just summarized my feelings about what Magic, and MJ said. Great article. Just great man..

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Great article (I have a Macbook but do not use Facebook) and I won’t be buy LeBrons jersey or his shoes.

  • http://courtcred.com Coop

    Good article. Lebron has a lot of pressure on him because of the hype he came in the league with. By the way, CourtCred/Grounded just created these dope performance bands called “Check My Stats”. They are available at http://courtcred.com/courtcred-shop.html

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    Notice how Jordan never says anything, about anybody, ever. Its not lke hes an un-biased party in this, of course hes gonna try and put as much space between his legacy and Lebrons potential legacy. Probably no one is going to catch Jordan, but if someone does, its not going to be with Mikes help.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    - Loved this article. Loved it.
    - I hate narcissismbook. And I do not have a profile.
    - I have a Mac. I have a ipod. Great products. No complaints.
    - A triple dip of 20-10-10 is a distinct possibility. I hope it happens.
    - I would absolutely watch a talk show hosted by Kwame.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Too smart for the masses.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    I’ve read LeBron stories by, I dunno, 10 or so different writers lately and they all blend into one. I can’t remember who wrote what. This, obviously, is not one of those.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    “and staying out of trouble-you know, breaking laws and sh*t, as opposed to just offending our collective sporting morals” I hope Ryan doesn’t mind me using this as my Facebook status.

  • hoodsnake

    I think Scoop Jackson said it best: He didn’t choose Miami to win hearts , he chose Miami to win championships.

  • PB

    Great article, but the part about being on a roster 7 years without winning is incorrect. Jordan was on a roster that won in it’s 8th year, and previously was on the cusp of breaking through just like Lebron’s Cavs.

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  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    Good perspective. I don’t agree about the MJ’s judging LeBron, they both just said they would not have done it. That doesn’t mean LeBron is being judged negatively for doing it. You are correct that we can never really prove if they actually would have if put in the same situation. Michael was in a very similar situation for 6 years, Magic never faced anything like it. But I would say Barkley, who is an all-time great but not in the same category as the MJ’s, was/is critical of LeBrons decision to ‘chase’ rings. Barkley never won a ring, nor did he ever try to play on a team with his bestfriend (MJ). So each of these three legends seem to agree although their experiences of success were very different in terms of timing and level. All I’m saying with that is that I do believe ‘things were different back then’ and that’s o.k. I don’t believe LeBron’s, brand will rise nearly as high as it could have if he didn’t take ‘the easy way out’. If/When he wins his first ring or his 5th, he’ll still here fans of the game talking about how he did it and not give him the type of credit/hype/respect as either of the MJ’s or even Kobe.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Outta the park Mr. Jones, outta the park.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    And good comment Bryan, because that’s how I felt as well. Both you and Ryan hit on many of my feelings.
    My selfish desire as a fan of top notch basketball was to see several very competitive teams duke it out every year.
    Lebron’s desire was to win championships quickly and frequently.
    I had to take a step back and decide whether my desire should be more important to his life than his own.
    I know damn well I don’t care what Lebron James wants me to do in my life, so why should he make decisions based on what I want him to do in his life.
    Just because I watch games? That’s hogwash.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    From a 1991 LA Times interview: Magic Johnson would have returned to Michigan State rather than play for the Chicago Bulls. “I’d have stayed in school,” he said here Tuesday, standing alone outside Gate 3 1/2 of Chicago Stadium, the house that could have been his. “A coin toss changed the course of my whole life.” Chicago called heads in a 1979 coin flip with Los Angeles for the No. 1 pick in the NBA college draft. It came up tails. Johnson signed with the Lakers after his sophomore year of college and proceeded to win five championships. The Bulls picked second, took UCLA’s David Greenwood and have won no championships. “I wouldn’t have played here,” Johnson said on the eve of Game 2 of the NBA finals between his team and the team that could have been his. “The only reason I came out was to play with Kareem and the Lakers.”

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Just because I know Ryan would like that.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Saw that yesterday, Eboy — from True Hoop, no?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Yeah, I actually found it on the network’s website that supported the “one hour of programming that can’t be named”.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Eboy sems to be under the impression that the City of Chicago is somehow jealous of Miami because they got LeBron. Uhm, no sir. That is incorrect. You can have him. And pushing a quote from ’91 about something Magic said/felt/thought in ’79 is so irrelevant. FWIW – in ’79, I wouldn’t have wanted to play in Chicago either. But in defense of my city against this South Beach haterade Eboy is pouring right now, things have gotten significantly better around here since then. LBJ would’ve been nice to have in Chicago, but unlike Miami, we don’t “need” him to make ourseleves relevant to anyone outside of South Florida.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    “Jealous man better,keep your head, don’t forget what your good book said”

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    LOL @ Eboy…that’s why you’re my guy.

  • Jackie Moon

    Totally. Let’s take a step back and have some perspective when it comes to criticizing Lebron … but if it’s about Kobe? Oh, you damn sure I’m going to rip that d0uchebag in the comments!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Bryan, you know I like you and your work right? While you bash me for homerizng the Heat at every turn, you do the same f*cking thing, EACH AND EVERY TIME YOU WRITE AN ARTICLE OR COMMENT ABOUT YOUR TEAM OR CITY!!!!!! Stop your silliness. This is the nature of sport right? Fans discuss, argue, rub it in the other ones faces when one does well and the other fan’s team doesn’t. I’m happy for you and the Bulls. For real. I could give two sh*ts less who ramps up their squads to “try and fight the good fight” and beat the Servants From Hell/The NWO, whatever cool nicknames the kids have for the Heat today. What is this biblical? It’s basketball. BASKETBALL. A kids sport, played by men, getting paid ridiculous amounts of money for it, to entertain guys like you and me. I hated/still hate Kobe Bryant for several reasons ,most of which don’t revolve around his game. It seems that NOW many people are hating Lebron because of things that have nothing to do with his GAME. I was/am still known as a Kobe hater cause I think the dude is still an over-inflated legend and a miscreant of a person. And I’m vilified for it. Those of you (yes, that includes you)are doing the same thing for similar reasons about Bron, but because at the moment it’s the majority rule, it’s “fair” and “justified” hate. Guess what? It’s bullsh*t and it’s laughable. And stems from jealousy. That’s why I’ve kept referencing jealousy towards anyone that reads the pieces here. If Lebron would have chose Chicago, you’d be over the moon talking about the potential of domination that the Bulls would have in their futures. If you say you wouldn’t, then there’s no reason to continue arguing it, you’d be lying.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    And to make it abundantly clear, I wish thrilled the Heat got to keep Dwyane (another reason you have such Heat hate today ’cause you felt you had a shot and were lead on by him)and managed to get Bosh. Did I think that was all the Heat needed to contend? Fu*k no! That’s what the rest of the off-season would have been for. But when Lebron chose the Heat, well fu*k, what was I supposed to do, act like that’s not game-changing? Come on, bro, you’re better than that.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Eboy, one thing you could’ve counted on from me had Bron signed in Chicago was that I wouldn’t be all “Pro-LeBron” now and singing his praises and all that. Why? Because that would make me hypocrite. I couldn’t continue to go at him in the same manner, because, well, that’s just common sense. Bashing him would be akin to bashing my squad and I can’t do that. Do I think we would’ve/could’ve won a championship(s) and dominated the L with him here? Of course I do, I’m not crazy. But don’t try and throw that jealousy card around because you guys got him and we didn’t. That’s not what it is, especially not with me. Jealousy would’ve been me being all for LeBron and then when he didn’t come to Chicago, now I’m screaming eff you. Trust me, I’ve seen that from people around here already. And believe you me, you are no more villified for being a Kobe hater than I am for being a LeBron hater. In fact, being a fan of Kobe and not of LeBron gets me attacked much, much more than you can imagine. Trust me. But that’s all part of the fun for me.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    Uhm No Eboy, I wasn’t “that” upset about not getting DWade. In fact, I never once said that I felt “lead on” by him at all. Others have, not me. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have him home, and for a minute, I thought he as coming, but he didn’t, so whatever. I never thought he was leaving Miami in the first place. Look man, how many times have I told you that I understand you defending LBJ because he’s in MIA now? It’s not like I’m “all of a sudden” going at him now. You’re better than that. you already know how I get down when it comes to that. Of course it’s game changing for Miami, just like it was game changing for Cleveland to have him. That doesn’t make me feel any different because he changed teams though. I rooted against CLE, now I have to root against MIA (even though I don’t want to because of DWade and I’ve said this). It is what it is, bro.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I’m good with it too, and guess what? My main focus (and to be honest) it STILL is and will be Dwyane’s city. Lebron is loved here, but not obsessed upon like the city of Cleveland became with him. I’m certain (and I think most Heat fans know) that Lebron is a fantastic lease option for 5 seasons or so, might get the squad and it’s fans a few titles to crow over, but I’m not attaching myself to him in a way that if in 2015, dude says he’s taking his talents to the Lakers (where I think he will finish his career) I won’t vilify home or burn his jersey (which would probably be my son’s)cause of the leaving, I’d be grateful he choose my squad to lift up a bit, made them a perennial contender and reflect back on his accomplishments. I liked dude BEFORE he came to the Heat. I’ll like him when he’s gone. His “faults” are just over-amplified and he still needs to learn A TON about how to conduct himself in a way that most of America will accept him. But as far as fanship, I’m team Lebron in a distant second to team Heat, cause I know it’s just a rental and eventually, I’ll be seeing him in another city somewhere, hopefully with less baggage attached as he goes forward.

  • peter

    touche Ryan…7th year. BUT, the Cavs have experienced quite a lot of success during Lebron’s 7 years there. It’s definitely not like they had no hope of winning it all within the next couple of years. One glaringly obvious way might have been if Lebron actually COMMITTED to staying in Cleveland they may have had a better opportunity to attract a free agent…but what’s done is done, and I will definitely be watching as many Heat games as possible (while checking Facebook on my Mac).

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Can you guys go back to Bryan’s post if you’re gonna keep this up? Thanks.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    Eboy, yeah we probably would have been discussing the Bull’s potential dominance, and the hate would have been a whole lot less, but since he didn’t do that, and took the easy way out, no doubts there, he has now become the most hated player in sports today. Will it stop him from winning multiple titles? I doubt it, but it won’t stop the hate, and of course there will always be the bandwagon jumpers who act like they were Heat fans from day 1, when they were not, they just root for the best team year in and year out, as many fans do these days. But on the other hand Eboy, I don’t speak for everybody on this, I only speak for myself, but, I’m not one bit jealous of your team, I’m not lying about it either. I wouldn’t root for this team if they were playing the Chinese national team. But, good for you that you can now root for a good team, instead of a bottom-feeder like they were just a couple years ago. No jealousy. You can have the King of self-promotion.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    It is related to Bron, no? Besides, your comment count was lacking, f*cker.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Promise, a couple of couple of years ago they were Champions too, so your hate is undeniable and your jealousy is showing like a 9 month pregnant woman. Thanks for playing.

  • http://slamonline.com Bryan Crawford

    No need Ryan. I don’t know about Eboy, but I’m done. I was actually going to let him have the last word. It’s only fair considering this is an LBJ post, he’s a Heat fan, and that’s my dude. That’s how I roll.

  • ciroqobama

    Very well written mr jones

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I’m loving Bryan more each time I interact with him.

  • henry

    great read, spot on chap

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ The Promise

    Asm I have said before Eboy, I ain’t hatin on your team really, its just LeBron I simply can’t stand. I’ve been a Wade fan since he destroyed my ’03 Kentucky team in the Elite Eight. He gained my total respect. And you know, why would I be jealous, when its not like this team is gonna be together that long anyways? When his contract runs out, he will take his talents somewhere else, so you will only get 4 or 5 years to sh!t talk and bask in the glory. And when its over, its back to earth. So stop calling me a liar by saying I’m jealous, get over it.

  • Brian

    If LeBron ever does decide to start “breaking some laws and @#$!” then you know we’re only a few days from a Ryan Jones article explaining how we’re looking at it all wrong.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    I’ve already got the “LeBron didn’t mean to drive his Bentley into that bus full of Haitian immigrant babies” post ready, Brian, just in case. Let me know if you’d like a sneak peak.

  • http://andrewwoods86@hotmail.com brill

    I dont understand why Eboy and Bryan cant just call each other on the phone and have this conversation?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Another great column, Ryan.

  • http://www.sovainmag.com Sovainmag.com

    Great article. No one gave their opinion to “The Decision” prior to the matter and no one has been in LeBron’s position. Its not fair that he can highly criticized, but not graced for making a decision to win a championship. We live in a backwards society. If he stayed in Cleveland, and didnt win a title, the world would criticize him. But he mad a decision to better himself and the league.

  • Brian

    Please Ryan. I’m guessing it was the vodka’s fault for going down his throat.

  • http://myspace.com/rsaenz24 RoG23

    LeBron is still one of the best nba players in history. It takes a GREAT team to win a ring. LeBron didn’t have that in cleveland. He single handedly won 60 games. And in the playoffs the celtics knew it. So they shut down lebron, knowing that there was no other cav who could step up. I bet both mjs couldn’t make it to the finals with the squad lebron was running with when they lost to the spurs “BIG 3″

  • http://myspace.com/rsaenz24 RoG23

    Btw, charles barkley did join hakeem and drexler in houston. But he wasn’t riding their backs right? He was still the man. He was leading them by himself with no help. He is a hypocrite. He is just mad because lebron has already EARNED a higher status than himself. He is a very funny guy tho. I wish every game was on tnt.

  • JalepinoSauce

    nice point Sovainmag. They forgettin that Bron’s winnin’ & he get’s what he wants. People hate that coz theyre stupid. The Boy plays his ass off , he also a great baller who’s fun to watch, thats what we do & that’s what its about. Ryan can withstand as much pressure as Bron’s left te$ti(le. Ignorant Hatin’ Beeeyyaahhyches !!!

  • http://slamonline.com AlbertBarr

    Here is an interesting article from interbrand…it is an evaluation of the LeBron James Brand and an analysis of the money he likely to make of his brand in miami and what he could have made in other likely destinations of the summer. http://www.interbrand.com/paper.aspx?paperid=122&langid=1000

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Nice article.

  • Hightz

    amazing read….very well said we are all just fans and we will still watch bron play this season….im from toronto and ill still get a heat # 1 jersey….

  • Jake

    Well said,but I still can’t stand LeBron and his self made celebrity status.He’s been marketing himself since he was 16 and he still can’t carry Nike.His sales compared to Kobe’s are volatile…same with MJ.The “king” of basketball isn’t even the king of the company that endorses him.

  • http://www.clownpenis.com Tarzan Cooper

    Good stuff ryan, check out scoops piece over at the follower. Bryan and eboy are funny, esp how bryan always has to say ‘thats how I roll’ in every post.

  • Dagger

    I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands of basketball articles over the years. This is easily the best. Very impressive work.

  • Rusty

    Nice article, well done Jones.

  • Rusty

    If i didnt dislike Bron so much I would probably feel bad for the guy, makes this big life changing move in order to win a chip (which we all must dream off doing) and he gets absolutely smashed by pretty much everyone but the MIA fans.

  • Rusty

    If i didnt dislike Bron so much I would probably feel bad for the guy, makes this big life changing move in order to win a chip (which we all must dream off doing) and he gets absolutely smashed by pretty much everyone but the MIA fans.

  • Lantern2814.5

    If Lebron stops waltzing around like he’s a celebrity who is God’s gift to basketball and instead starts to act like a professional athlete who happens to be a great player on a team then him being w/ the Heat isnt a problem. So drop the “King” moniker, stop richest athlete ever building a brand talk. Instead, be there for your team, take responsibility when you lose, be gracious in defeat…start working, playing, and acting like a CHAMPION if being one is really the priority.

  • Lantern2814.5

    People keep saying Cleveland is a dump, I wouldn’t know, havent been there… but if LeBron’s “brand” was as big as it seemed he could’ve also been a community leader and made Cleveland a place to be… I guess I’m still thinking of celebrity athletes being leaders in making their community better, but I guess we really wouldn’t know anymore what Lebron could’ve done not just for the Cavs but for the community of Cleveland… except for the hate anyway…haha…

  • penny

    thanks for the article very well written

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    LeBron: “Hello, I’m a Mac. I have terrific asthetics, a great pedigree, and can make the best basketball moves look pretty. However, I lack the technical skills that would make me a stand-out player.”
    Bosh: “and I’m a PC. I have terrific skills but no one seems to notice because I don’t have fancy applications. Acknowledge me!”

  • T-Money

    Rusty: smashed on the Internet, dude. He doesn’t care. Millions of fans adore him, bloggers, commenters and reporters despise him. I’ll take that any day.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    @ Allenp: That’s hogwash, is it? You sure it isn’t cogswaggle? Rubbish? =)

  • tomtom

    A good example of why i only really come on this site to catch breaking news. The articles are poorly written and often nonsensical and some of the statements, comments and themes are often irrelevant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000580635564 Bryan

    He still has you servicing him so he’ll be ok right tmoney?

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @tomtom — that’s sarcasm, right? If anything, it’s the reverse.

  • jay

    lebron chose his own path he is a big boy and decided to make his “decision” right or wrong!! i think the show was over the top and ticked peeps off. we shall see how he handles the target on this big 10X..but as Ryan you pointed out…we will all watch. mj, magic, chuckster, and larry legend stated their opinions and opinions! we do still live in a free country ..correct…lets see how this plays out…like em or hate em..we will all watch..great read! i think in the legends eyes bron does lose some cred..will that hurt his brand..maybe..maybe not…we shall see how he is viewed down the road

  • Rusty

    @T-money i understand he probably shrugs most of it off but its gotta but i mean that MJ and Magic ish would be hard to shrug off

  • Rusty

    totally fuked up the above comment.

  • johnpebenito

    i agree with some of your points, but what i dont agree that the CAVS are not doin anything, they have a willing owner, but lebron can’t wait. its not like he is teamed with a bunch of scrubs, they had a pretty good team, they won 60 plus wins back to back seasons, i dont blame it to his teammates, i blame the COACH for losing in the playoffs. coz he failed to adjust offensively and defensively. while the other team is keeps on adjusting every game. their play sucks!!

    1 more thing theres no way spoelstra can beat Phil Jackson. when finals time!! hehe!!

    just my two cents

  • T-Money

    bryan: bien sûr.

  • Curren$y

    The sales and profit show ppl do like Apple and Facebook. I hate lebron, I can’t even begin to delve into “The Decision” it was horrible. I enjoyed the article other than the references to Apple and Facebook, and I felt like it was unecessary. just giving constructive criticism

  • Eric Mueller

    I like this take on the LeBron decision. I know I am one of the many haters for this choice…but its nice to see someone take LeBron’s goals in view, instead of the goals the world and media have set for him.

  • Ronald

    @Anton: Urm, Mac has fancy applications? Such as? Despite the fact that a PC can do everything a MAC can do (i.e install Mac OSX onto it, which would make a PC a cheaper and yet more powerful alternative than a Mac.) Anyway back on topic, I don’t see how Jordan “judged” Lebron. He said in hindsight that he wouldn’t have called Magic/Bird/Larry to make a team. Hindsight is the operative word here seeing how he won 6 championships without doing so. He didn’t say he wouldn’t have done the same if he was in Lebron’s position or vice versa. He’s just saying that looking back he did pretty well and he wouldn’t change a thing. It’s not like he was going to say “Oh, despite winning 6 championships and arguably the best player to have ever played basketball I would have made a superteam if I had a chance. But honestly, Lebron put himself in a lose-lose situation. I don’t see how he can benefit overall from this even if he wins 3-4 championships which is optimistic at best. Or maybe he’s destined to go through basically what Kobe had to go through, be the bad guy, then somehow get even more unconditional love out of it.

  • total scrotal implosion

    How much is bron loving miami women, sure beats having to truck in ones to cleveland

  • Joe KIng

    All this bullsh*t talk about doing whats goos for the team and being a team guy, an mj an magic having a sulk because lebron would rather have championships then mvps

  • http://slamonline.com Dave.

    “Also, they both played on the Dream Team”
    Nice article, too.

  • ClydeSays

    I doubt the ‘brand’ will take any long term hit. Winning will help, but so will a little time. Unlike say Brett Fauve, Lebron is just in his prime years. He has a long time to right the ship and people’s memories are short.

    Fauve has engendered so much ill will at the tail end of his career, that could be what people remember.

  • Andrea Bargnani

    sh*t talking mj and magic?

    come on man this article is pure bs

    i been comin here since the first links ever put up, and these days this site is just late news, and irritating opinions

    the links come once a month

    i quit slam, see ya later

  • Kundai

    Im the same as eboy for the real I cant say i support the actual team im team lebron first no matter where he goes, then second the heat. So i wish the best for the KING!!!! get your rings and be known as one of teh best of all time. BTW people saying wade will have a better career at the end need to put their drugs down. lebron will always be better than wade. But wade still be my dude

  • Ed LOmax

    Lebron was a FREE agent. FREE muthafu*#ers, FREE!! He could CHOOSE to go to ANY team he wanted. No matter what decision he made, approx 29 other teams fans would be hating him. At least the Heat didn’t straight jack him like the Lakers did when they got Pau Gasol. MIA = 3 All Stars. Lakers = 3 All Stars ( Pau, Kobe, Ron Ron), including 1 x DPY (Ron), Portland = stacked, Nuggets = stacked, Magic = 4 All Stars, Celtics = 3 future HOF’ers. Shiiiit, like I’ve written before, why would it be SO different if Lebron went to the Bulls??? That’s not chasing a ring?? The ONLY wack thing about this whole issue was the piss weak ESPN special and ALL OF YOU F#*KING HATERS!!!

  • Ed LOmax

    Also, LBJ could potentially average an trip dub next season and the Heat could potentially win it all. If this happens could we all admit that he LEAD his team to a title?? Listen, I’m not an LBJ super-fan like some SLAM readers, I’ve always, since their rookie years prefered DWADE, but ya’ll really need to stop hating this man. He’s a fuc@*ing human being, with flaws like the rest of us. P.S As an old school Heat fan since the Lebanon mega DJ Ron Seikly and Glen Rice before he played for the Lakers and I’m kinda glad in a way that so many people are HATING on us. Hopefully it will develop a seige mentality within the organisation.. The Bulls regular season win record is in serious trouble my friends.

  • Andrea Bargnani

    i cant even post a good bye?


    you suck now slam, and its too bad

  • martin

    mr. ryan jones, how can u say that the cavs were ‘undermanned’ and had ‘no hope for substantial improvement’, especially this past season?

    first of all, ANY team has HOPE for substantial improvement, some just not up to the level of championship contender. having said that, the cavs were not undermanned in any sense. first because they have a complete roster and second because they have two all-stars (mo and antawn), a hall of fame center (shaq) and a slew of serviceable players (jj, z, varejao, moon, parker, etc.).

    it just seems that they are ‘undermanned’ because the gap between the talent level of LBJ and the others are far apart. but the point is that they are DEFINITELY NOT UNDERMANNED and THEY HAVE HOPE FOR IMPROVEMENT. the only things i saw that was missing is that james did not LEAD them.

    another thing, u cannot compare the james-wade-bosh trio to jordan-pippen-whoever trio because first of all james and wade are definitely 2 of the top 5 players in the league (or the world even). in contrast, pip was not a consensus top 5 player in his generation. further, rodman or whoever is the other part of the trio is not a top 15 player, unlike bosh who is regarded as such.

    ultimately, james and wade could have led championship teams (wade even won already) while only jordan and not pippen (pip had a chance when jordan 1st retired) can lead those type of teams. that is why jordan never really compared his situation with lebron’s. he just compared their mindset, that is, mike will value the competitive side of the game and refrain from joining other franchise players.

  • http://www.slamonline.com/online/category/blogs/farmer-jones/ Ryan Jones

    Hi Martin. I should’ve consulted you before I wrote this. Next time.

  • Jackie Moon

    Here’s an idea: When/If Lebron and Miami wins a title, we should all take a step back and have some perspective on what it means in the big scheme of things. It’s not like he did anything compared to say, Jonas Salk or Issac Newton. A sports achievement is nothing compared to someone who changes the course of history with his or her discovery or contributions to medicine. It’s not a big deal, so why should we even care – shoot, why should we even write about Lebron winning a title?

  • http://www.slamonline.com TADOne

    I like this Ryan Jones character. I think i’ll partake in his articles more often.

  • Ronald

    @TADOne: Just don’t criticize him. He obviously isn’t a big fan of it.

  • Daniel M

    Wow. I like the article a lot. Interesting way of putting things.

  • chris

    excellent read, interesting and unique take on a heavily scrutinized event

  • DG

    @martin – screw that 60 win s*it. The Cavs’ record w/out Lebron in the last 3 seasons?



    and given the money sunk into players past their prime (that choke only come playoff time),


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