Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Halftime Adjustments: Will Rings Truly Fix Lebron's Reputation as a Pitchman and Player?

KOBE N LEBRON Pictures, Images and Photos

Lebron James has seen a sharp drop in his popularity since "The Decision" aired. He's gone from having one of the highest positive Q-ratings for any athlete to being disliked by 40% of the population (link). For a man so obsessed with money, Business Lebron has to be concerned about the effect on his endorsements. But surely a championship or two will restore him in the public eye? You would think...but let's compare him with Kobe Bryant.

Kobe is often cited as the example of rehabbing one's reputation via winning. He is now America's favorite sports star. But the comparison between the offenses Kobe and Lebron committed against sports fans do not hold up over time. Kobe's crimes were helping to push Shaq out the door (and time has shown that might have been the right decision) and sexual impropriety in Colorado (in which the case was settled out of court). Neither incident had an easily definable, televisable moment that can be replayed over and over again. Neither incident was watched by millions of sports fans live. And neither incident was a crime against an entire fanbase (or perhaps two, depending on how delusional Knicks fans are given Lebron's previous statements about NY). To compare Kobe's situation to Lebron's fails to recognize the differences between the two...but then again, what else is new when it comes to Kobe-Lebron comparisons?

Halftime Adjustments is a new type of blog I'm working on to sniff out bad comparisons, generalizations, and analogies in ongoing stories. Feel free to submit your own angles on developing stories in need of adjustment to me via my email or twitter (links on sidebar).

1 comment:

  1. People will forget over time and little kids couldn't care less, but the big difference between Kob and LeBron's mishaps:

    1) Kobe's first thing had nothing to do with the game itself, and the Shaq stuff was because he wanted it so much more than Shaq and was so driven he didn't act rationally at all times. You could knock him but there's a begrudging respect for his will and desire.

    2) LeBron showed that he really just wanted an easier path to titles. He flat out said it would be nice not to have to play so great every night. He disrespected the game itself. This is generally (like with Bonds or Clemens) not a forgivable offense.

    Kobe cares about achievement in the game - I guarantee if they beat the Celtics with an injured Pierce or Garnett, Kobe wouldn't be as happy about the title. LeBron just wants the trophy - he doesn't really care about having to work to get it. He's shown this blatantly, and it's disrespectful to the game and the fans.

    That's the difference to me.