Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unsolicited advice for King James

Yes, Bee, it's sports today. At least sorta kinda. Haven't done this for awhile anyway.

I don't follow the NBA; I don't much care for the game. I don't like the shot clock. I used to like college basketball; when it went to a shot clock some years back, I found it easy to ignore that too.

But I do know something about media and perception and marketing. (Not my own marketing, perhaps... but that's another story.)

Anyway, pictured here is LeBron James, the very talented, young superstar of the Cleveland Cavaliers. James had been hoping for -- and many pundits who actually follow the NBA had predicted with some confidence that he might actually win -- a championship ring in Cleveland this year. Unfortunately for pro hoops fans in the Buckeye State, King James and his court were dispatched from the NBA playoffs this year by the more balanced Boston Celtics. This leaves King James a free agent, able to take his services to the any team that wants him.

The New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets want him. The Nets were hoping to win the first round draft pick last night so they could woo LBJ (seriously, Bee, if you're still with me, that's what some people are now calling this kid). The Nets didn't get the first pick; New Jersey's hopes may have faded accordingly. Meanwhile, a strip club in New York has promised King James free lap dances for life if only he'll transfer his allegiance to the Big Apple.

New York seemed to be in the running even before this offer -- after all, King James, though a native of Akron, Ohio, has been seen at Cleveland Indians games sporting the war bonnet of the hated New York Yankees.

But who knows?

The Chicago Bulls have cleared cap space to land LeBron or another premium free agent. They even fired their coach so LeBron (or Chicago native, and current Miami Heat employee, Dwyane Wade) could choose their own. One rumor has Kentucky Coach John Calipari returning to the pros as part of a package deal to land LeBron James in Chicago. Calipari coached Derrick Rose in Rose's one infamous season in Memphis (Memphis's trip to the Final Four was officially erased from the record books after it was contended that one player -- possibly Rose -- was admitted to the school on false pretenses. Rose took the ACT in Chicago -- he's a Chicago native -- at least once and did poorly but, somehow, when he went to Detroit to take the SAT he did much better. Mmmmm hmmmm.)

Young Mr. Rose is quite talented. After his one-and-done at the University of Memphis, Rose became the NBA Rookie of the Year. Rose and James might prove a formidable combination in a combined pursuit of NBA glory.

As a Chicago guy, I know it is my place to invite King James to move to Chicago.

But that is not my suggestion.

I hope LeBron stays home. I hope he stays in Cleveland. If he re-signs, he would own the town on account of his 'loyalty.' And it won't just be in Cleveland that he will benefit: James will win the affection of a lot of sports fans around the country who are tired of mercenary millionaires willing to move without looking back in order to squeeze the last dollar out of the next contract. Marketing people will take note. His endorsements will be maximized.

If King James moves anywhere he will be a villain. He will be particularly vilified if he moves to New York. Even if he turns down the lap dances.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

yes bee, blah blah blah blah blah, lap dances! see i read it! ha ha ha

smiles, bee

Dave said...

I know as little about the NBA as I do about the stock market. But, I think you may be wrong. LBJ will get the "max" from whichever team he signs with. He'll make more outside money in a major market like NY/NJ or Chicago (I'm promoting you, at least over Cleveland).

If it's money he wants, a move is probably in order. It's probably in order too if he wants championships, especially if he choosed Chicago as it, from what I've read has a lot of really good players to surround him.

So, Cleveland has the attractions of more money than he can spend (though less than other cities will give him), loyalty and a certain level of adulation that he won't get elsewhere.

We'll see.