A Decision to Change His Image
In his best 90 seconds since “taking his talents to South Beach,” Lebron James is finally taking steps to rehabilitate his image. Lebron’s “Rise” Nike commercial, which debuted Monday two days before the tip-off of the NBA regular season, is a bold, defiant response that is precisely what James has needed to do since June. “Should I be who you want me to be?” James asks multiple times during the spot. It’s a statement that takes shots at the critics who have piled on him ever since he left Cleveland for Miami’s warmer pastures. Its also a message that is going to be wildly successful with the youth of America. Much like Charles Barkley’s “I Am Not a Role Model” Nike campaign, this commercial is about doing whats right for oneself regardless of the way your actions will be received. Barkley was wildly successful as a counter-culture figure during the 90’s, and with this commercial it appears King James is following Sir Charles’ swoosh emblazoned footsteps. This is a dramatic shift from the man many expected James to emulate.
In all his years, Michael Jordan never released a commercial as bold as this one; in fact, he is famous for among other things, never taking controversial public stances because as he once said “Republicans and Democrats both buy sneakers.” For perhaps the first time in Lebron’s career, he is stepping out of the immense shadows of Michael Jordan and becoming his own man. For the first time in a long time, hes Just Doing It right.