“I don’t believe in pressure”: Marketing LeBron/LeBron Marketing

Curator's Note

The NBA and its many mediating affiliates are thrilled. King James’ stunning performance in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals has inspired the sort of commentator rhapsodizing once reserved for Michael Jordan. LeBron’s 48 points (in regulation plus two overtimes against the Pistons at Auburn Hills) made viewers dizzy on 31 May. "This is unbelievable," exulted Steve Kerr. "This is Jordanesque!" Just so, the marketing for the finals (all broadcast on TNT, announced as "40 games in 40 nights") has shifted into overdrive: the YouTube "Inside the Playoffs Mind of…" series features one segment each for Damon Jones, Rip Hamilton, and Chauncey Billops, and, before Game Six of the Conference Finals, four for James. While Dave Zirin recently urged the young man who wants to be a "global icon" to "refuse to be owned," the die now looks emphatically cast. "Inside" LeBron’s mind, the NBA, TNT, and Nike find all they might wish for, namely a star who sells them. "We are all witnesses," announces the famous Nike poster in Cleveland. To what, we might wonder.

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