Photo Credit: GQ.com
It’s levels to becoming the face of any team, company or organization. In Lebron James’ case, he’s not only the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he’s also the face of the National Basketball Association. Rapper Jay-Z says it best, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” James is every bit of this quote, because he is a talented athlete who has leveraged himself into a profitable business. What does this have to do with him being the face of the NBA? Some qualifications of having this honor consist of superb talent, good character, clean image and strong fan support. The fact that James meets all of these qualifications – and has since he stepped foot into the NBA – has led to a brand that is normal of a white, male athlete and multiple endorsements (Mocarski & Billings, 2014). James, similar to Michael Jordan, is the opposite of the negative stigma of African American, male athletes. It starts with character. Since entering the league as an 18 year old in 2003, James hasn’t had any run-ins with law enforcement, such as being cited for a DUI, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sexual assault. Not saying that every male of color has issues with the law, but this phenomenon is problematic among males of color and has been quite for some time. It’s even becoming more prevalent among African American college athletes. There are also other talented males of color who have good images, but none of them have been able to garner the respect that James has. Now, I do not agree with James overruling his head coach in public – that’s cancerous to any team – or holding out to resign his contract with the Cavs. If you’re the franchise player, you should be confident enough to know that your franchise will put the right players around you in order to win. In this instance, James is abusing his power and he needs to humble himself.
On the other hand, I do agree with the way James has put himself in position to be able to put those around him in a better position. The 2012 ESPN 30 for 30 film “Broke” documents former NBA, NFL and MLB players giving testimonies of how they went bankrupt shortly after retirement. According to Sports Illustrated, sixty-percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retirement and 78 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt within three. However, James has ensured this will not be the case for him by figuring out how to maximize his gift of basketball and creating generational wealth for his family. Continue reading “Lebron James, Face of the NBA”