LeBron James spent the last seven years building not only himself as a top player in the NBA, but also turning himself into an international brand. He has help companies such as Nike, Coke and many others to build their brand in his shoulders. LeBron has even become a part of music history as his name has been worked into lyrics by artist such as Jay Z.
On July 1, 2010 he became a free agent, and with just about every team in the NBA hoping to sign him he finally turned to the Miami Heat and has created what some consider the next NBA championship team, this when the first NBA game of the 2011-2012 seasion is well over six months away. He decided to make his announcement in a very public manner which of course created a storm as Cleavland Cavailiar fans burned his uniform and the owner of the team went on a verbal war path which resulted in the NBA issuing a $100,000 fine against the owner. So the biggest fear of any business owner came true, the brand, the key marketing and pr machine has left the building! Is the brand (or the Cavaliars) worth as much without Lebron?
One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it can be built up by one person or many. At the same time if that one person leaves your brand, then what is left?
The full story of the Clevland Cavaliers isn’t written but there is certainly a bit of damage in the wake of LeBron’s exit and the owners subsequent tyrants.