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Bron

Bron

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Published by bozzworth

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Published by: bozzworth on Dec 11, 2010
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Medeiros 1
Brian MedeirosProfessor WilliamsENGL28011 Dec 2010Lebron James¶s Q Score has gone down from 24 to 15.What the hell is a Q Score?And as a sports fan, why should I care?In the aftermath of Lebron¶s infamous ³The Decision´ TV special, and his subsequentdeparture from the Cleveland Cavaliers, James has fallen from grace in the eyes of die-hard NBAfanatics, casual sports fans, legends of the game, and even those with no interest in sports. It is astory as old as sport itself: America, with the power of the media, builds up a sports star toalmost unimaginable heights, waits for the star to slip up, and then razes him down faster than ademolished, abandoned old building. Just in the past few years, we have seen it with MichaelVick, who was convicted of bankrolling dog fighting, and Ben Roethlesberger, who was accusedof sexually assaulting a college student on more than one occasion. But how can Lebron James,whose decision to ³Take his talents to South Beach´ was admittedly was done in a crass manner, be lumped in with these two scumbags? He was not charged with Operating Under theInfluence, nor was he involved in any performance enhancing drug scandals, which seem to popup in the sports section about as often as box scores. He was simply showed to be a narcissistic,self-centered egomaniac. In the world of professional sports, narcissistic, self-centeredegomaniacs are a dime a dozen. In this era (error?) of 24-hour sports stations, countless websitesand blogs, and sports radio talk shows needing something to gripe about, Lebron James hasturned into sporting America¶s number one villain. It is fascinating to observe, because perhaps
 
Medeiros 2
no other athlete in history, save for maybe Michael Jordan, has used the media to create, mold,and shape his public persona to the degree that James has.It didn¶t take long for the media to wrap its hands around young LeBron James. Hegraced the cover of Sports Illustrated on February 18, 20002«as a high school junior! He wasthe first high school player to be on the cover since Kevin Garnet in 1995, who was a senior.The cover features LeBron in his St. Vincent-St. Mary uniform with the title in big, boldlettering: ³The Chosen One.´ In the cover story, Grant Wahl recounts a story of Michael Jordancoming to see one of LeBron¶s games, and compares the moment to the historic photograph of ateenaged Bill Clinton meeting John F. Kennedy, saying it had ³the same vibe.´ James wasalready using the media to create a larger-than-life persona, even as a high school student-athlete.When quite possibly the greatest basketball player who ever lived is attending your games, it soon becomes the place to be. Everyone wanted a piece of LeBron, and he was onlyhappy to oblige. Soon enough, the swarm of the media closed in for some of the action. ESPNtelevised some of his games, which was unprecedented. In fact, just the idea of televising highschool basketball was almost laughable. But it was ESPN who got the last laugh. Broadcast onsister station ESPN2, the first St. Mary-St. Vincent game received ESPN2¶s highest rating in twoyears, drawing a 1.97 rating, equivalent to 1.67 million homes. With all this notoriety cameattention and scrutiny that no high school athlete has ever faced, and soon the controversies camewith them. Gloria James, LeBron¶s mother, received a bank loan on the basis of her son¶s futureearning potential, and bought LeBron a $50,000 Hummer. This prompted an investigation by theOhio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), because, according to their bylaws, noamateur athlete can receive a gift value at over $100 as a reward for athletic performance. Atthis same time, he was also under investigation for receiving two throw-back jerseys (of Gale
 
Medeiros 3
Sayers and Wes Unseld) from an urban clothing store in Cleveland. He was found in violation,and suspended for the rest of the season. On appeal, his suspension was reduced to two gamesand he was able to make it back for the next scheduled televised game for St. Mary-St. Vincent.How convenient.The snowball was on its way down the mountain, picking up momentum and speed.LeBron James was a full-fledged celebrity now. The hype around this wunderkind was almostimpossible to live up to, but it looked as if the persona both off and on the court that he hadcultivated was the real deal. His basketball instincts were off the charts; his game was describedas a mix between Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan (a hoop aficionado¶s wet dream). Off thecourt, he was smooth, polished, and well-spoken. However, he still had street credibility in away that appealed to the new-school, hip hop generation of fans. This led to heated bidding war  between Nike, Reebok, and Adidas to get James affiliated with the shoe company. Nike wonout, investing in James, who had yet to step on even a college court much less a professional one,$90 million.LeBron was building his brand, and turning it into an empire. He was ³the chosen one´to succeed Michael Jordan as Nike¶s alpha dog, and drive the company¶s success into the newmillennium. Nike released popular commercials in which James acted out as members of afamily, titled ³The LeBrons´ (think Eddie Murphy in ³The Klumps´). LeBron¶s sneaker linewas the most popular outside of Air Jordans, and things looked good for ³The King.´ He wasmore than just a basketball player; he was a celebrity in a celebrity-obsessed country. All theseaccolades and attention, and yet, he hadn¶t won a thing since entering the National BasketballAssociation.

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