The Lebron commercial

Times have been pretty tough on NBA star Lebron James since he bolted from the Cleveland Cavaliers and took the bigger money and fame from the Miami Heat. Nike has gotten marketing people talking with this “in your face” ad, which was released yesterday, addressing how mean people have been to James over the summer.

Note the same shirt that James was wearing when he did his live broadcast to announce his choice of Miami. And the Charles Barkley-like declaration that “I’m not a role model.”

The Business Insider isn’t impressed:

We aren’t the ones who tattooed “Chosen1” on to LeBron’s back. We didn’t hang the billboard over Cleveland declaring ourselves witness. (Don’t forget–that was an advertisement he got paid for.) We didn’t cut the deal with ESPN to hype his free agent decision as the sports event of the summer. We didn’t give him the advice that Nike and Maverick Carter and his other friends fed to him and he accepted without questioning. (To paraphrase Mom, “If your friends told you to jump off a bridge, would you do that too?”)

LeBron spent his entire career telling Cleveland and the world how amazing he was going to be … someday. He encouraged and inflated and then packaged and sold that myth and now wants to wag his finger at fans for being stupid to enough to swallow it.

If LeBron James doesn’t want to be who we want him to be, then he shouldn’t have spent seven years pretending to be that and charging us for the pleasure of watching. Especially since poor Cleveland didn’t even get its money’s worth.

But James is money in the bank for the teams he’s not playing for. The Minnesota Timberwolves, for example, are not selling single-game tickets for Miami’s only appearance in Minnesota next April. Instead, you have to buy a full or modified season-ticket plan from the team to get to see James.

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