October 27, 2010 | Leave a Comment
*Sorry, I couldn’t resist
King James’ latest water cooler fodder premiered on Monday—and did not disappoint from a sport media perspective.
The new Heat forward—a 6’8” lightning rod in a mass media prairie—offered a 92-second response to months of criticism from what he has affectionately deemed “haters.”
In my Sport Media Relations class last night we delved into the Rise (and fall) of “The Chosen One.” Since we’re studying the role of publicists** in sport media right now, we focused on what LeBron, Nike and Wieden+Kennedy were trying to do with his [somewhat tarnished] image. Here’s what we discussed:
**LeBron’s publicist just did a Skype Q+A with our class (more on that in another post)
-Was the commercial merely a big Styrofoam middle finger to the critics who have taken shots at him from the nosebleed sections?
-Was the purpose to offer—in his unique way—an apology to the scorned fans of Cleveland?
-Was it a forum to justify the decision for “The Decision?”
-Why—I mean why—did LeBron read a passage (in the extended commercial) from Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise?”
This last talking point is generating buzz on the web. In the extended version of the commercial, King James
preaches recites the following Angelou scripture:
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
What kind of image are LeBron, Nike and Wieden+Kennedy attempting to construct with this passage?*** The general class consensus last night was the 2010-2011 season is branded “LeBron vs. Haters.”
And that’s what he wants you to believe.
***We started class by watching Maya Angelou recite “Still I Rise.” After watching the Rise commercial, we discussed the meaning behind Angelou’s poem, which at its core speaks of African Americans overcoming prejudice. Though most students were disgusted that LeBron would compare his situation to the struggles of African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, for the most part we agreed–from a publicist’s vantage point–that it was a creative tactic in rebuilding his image.