By Douglas DiLillo
With the start of NBA basketball this week, LeBron James tried to answer some critics with his newest Nike ad.
The commercial has been seen by almost everyone but will supposedly run in its full minute and a half duration during the NBA’s first game this evening when the Miami Heat play the Boston Celtics.
Its very clearly an attempt by his public relations team to get some of the heat (no pun-intended) of the once beloved two-time MVP.
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It begins with him sitting in what looks to be the set of the “Decision” wearing the same checkered purple shirt. He turns to the camera and asks, “What should I do? Should I admit that I made mistakes?”
It goes on to make light of several of the issues that now face James after deciding to do the unpopular and join his fellow superstars in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
He goes on to ask “Should I remind you I’ve done this before,” in terms of his decision to leave his local public high school (Akron Hoban) to be part of a much more competitive private high school in St. Vincent St. Mary with his buddies.
He asks if he should disappear, not listen to his friends, just sell shoes, act, admit he isn’t a role model, accept his role as a villain or that he ruined his legacy.
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He even says hello to one of his biggest critics recently in Charles Barkley.
Most outside of Cleveland will probably look at the commercial and begin to feel for James while the die-hard Cavalier fan base will mostly continue to have distain him over his exit.
It is just the first step in the process that will turn James back into a NBA favorite, people outside of Cleveland will begin to forgive him one dunk, spectacular block and triple-double at a time.
Cleveland, however, will not.
In the commercial, their was some symbolism toward the fans of his former city. James drives by his once dominant Nike “Witness” banner which hung over the city’s skyline as it falls to the ground and simply says “Should I tell you how much fun we had?”
James asks several questions but for Clevelanders there is truly only one question to be asked: Could he really just disappear?
It is an attempt to make James look like the victim and some may buy into that philosophy. In actuality it is more of a slap in the face to everyone who has judged him and is his attempt to say “I couldn’t careless what you people think, I have to do what is best for me.”
That is the truth and James had and will always have the right to do whatever it is that makes him happy, even if it makes millions look at him differently.
That doesn’t mean, however, people have to accept it or forgive him.
New Banner for Cleveland
Just as Nike released an ad trying to help Lebron’s image, Cleveland got proactive and replaced its once iconic banner of James’s outstretched arms with a banner of its own.
Much like the black and white image that used to hang in its place, the new billboard has a black and white image of the Cleveland skyline. Most likely in an attempt to restore some unity after James decision to bail, the banner reads “Our Home Since 1866, Our Pride Forever.”
The banner is being sponsored by the Sherwin-Williams Company, who owns the building where LeBron’s Nike ad once hung.
It is an effort to bring some moral to a clearly discouraged city and it will be finished before the Cavaliers take the floor on Wednesday night.