Regardless of what you think of his motivations, whether it was his concern for rebuilding his legacy or a true desire to help Cleveland, its seems as if LeBron James may have taken a few courses in PR. Or maybe he started listening to his PR team, though one wonders where they were four years ago when they decided that the one hour special, “The Decision” was a bright idea.
This time, there was no press conference and no hour long special, just a carefully crafted essay with great one line zingers like, “Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio”, “I’m doing this essay because I want an opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted”, “I’m not having a press conference or a party. After this, it’s time to get to work,” and finally, “I feel my calling here goes above basketball.”
Today’s New York Times says says Lee Jenkins courted LeBron, but who really knows. Clearly, James did not write this 952 word statement by himself — word has it he told the story to Jenkins then, Jenkins put his writing and editing skills to work. (This was a huge PR coup for SI by the way).
The strategy was smart and oh so surprising.
It was the lighting rod for talk radio and social media yesterday and will continue for many days and weeks to come, but that doesn’t really matter.
For once, a giant super star does something remotely admirable — giving the world of sports and the NBA something to cheer about, not to mention the city of Cleveland.
Maybe Johnny Manziel can enroll in the same PR course as Lebron James — he could learn a thing or too — and he hasn’t even thrown one touch down yet. I’m already tired of him.
In the end, the LeBron James saga is as much about how he communicated his decision as opposed to the decision itself.
See, when it comes to the heart of the matter, PR is usually front and center and that is why I love what I do.