Skip to content

LeBron James popularity, brand will return with wins

Aug 2, 2010, 2:58 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for lebron_james_arty.jpgWinning cures all ills in sports.

Right now, LeBron James popularity has taken a hit. A Los Angeles based poling company, E-Poll Market Research, released the results of a survey that found his ratings on words like “appeal” and “exciting” dropped by double digits, while his rating on the word “overexposed” was up 26 percent. Amazingly, his poll results for the word “talented” dropped five percent, as if he somehow became a less good player heading to Miami.

Where this matters is in the LeBron James brand — he can’t sell shoes or McDonald’s or anything else well if he is unpopular. Which means he will never be able to sell anything in Cleveland again.

But in the rest of the nation he will, soon enough.

If — and really, when — the Miami Heat start winning as we expect, LeBron’s ratings and brand will return. The drama of “The Decision” will fade. He went to Miami, he took less money, to win, and that kind of commitment to winning is usually applauded in our athletes. When the team starts to win the storyline will be how three great players gave up something to get victories, to go for titles.

I’m not the only person thinking this, SLAM Magazine went and talked to experts about LeBron’s brand.

“I think [his disapproval] is a blip,” said Ed O’Hara, Senior Partner at SME, a brand consultant firm in New York City. “Look, we forgave Tiger Woods, he’s back in action. When LeBron wins, which he will do, his reputation and brand will be galvanized.”

“It’s an international city,” O’Hara said of Miami. “It’s the gateway to America for many countries from the Caribbean rim to South America. Europeans go through there. That’s going to bode well for the Heat brand and for the LeBron brand.”

Titles also mean credibility. Right now, Kobe Bryant is dominating LeBron in the lucrative and growing shoe market in China for a couple of reasons, but a key one is winning. In a culture where winning titles is needed for true athletic validation, Kobe has them and LeBron does not.

For now. But that is going to change in the coming years. And as it does, LeBron’s popularity and brand will be stronger than ever.

  1. Gussou - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:15 AM

    He never going to bounce back – by winning in Miami, he will be winning with Wayne, not as when he was winning by himself at Cleveland. he just a crying babe – reason why Kobe will always be the real king

  2. sheed - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    Bron james is and always will be a PIG!!! Nothing, no NBA title, playoff victories, scoring titles is going to ever change that. I used to like the guy, and I live nowhere near Cleveland.
    The writer of this article is superficial and shallow. PPl hate the Cowboys, ppl hate the Lakers, hate the Penguins, hate Kobe, hate Roethlisberger, hate Tom Brady, hate O.J., hate Steinbrenner, hate the Yankees, hate the Steelers, Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, T.O, Vick, Isiah, Lawrence Taylor, A. Rod, Barry Bonds, Ozzie Guillen, Pierzynski, Jeff Gordon, Woods, Curt Schilling, Jeter, Jerry Jones, Pat Riley, Rodney Harrison, Roger Clemens, Calipari, Kurt Busch, Notre Dame, Duke basketball, Shaq, on-and-on-and-on; these guys/teams have always won at their sports and attracted hate as well. Having great character and being a great athlete who is able to win at their sport doesn’t always coincide.

  3. sheed - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:24 AM

    Bron james is and always will be a PIG!!! Nothing, no NBA title, playoff victories, scoring titles is going to ever change that. I used to like the guy, and I live nowhere near Cleveland.
    The writer of this article is superficial and shallow. PPl hate the Cowboys, ppl hate the Lakers, hate the Penguins, hate Kobe, hate Roethlisberger, hate Tom Brady, hate O.J., hate Steinbrenner, hate the Yankees, hate the Steelers, Tyson, Floyd Mayweather, T.O, Vick, Isiah, Lawrence Taylor, A. Rod, Barry Bonds, Ozzie Guillen, Pierzynski, Jeff Gordon, Woods, Curt Schilling, Jeter, Jerry Jones, Pat Riley, Rodney Harrison, Roger Clemens, Calipari, Kurt Busch, Notre Dame, Duke basketball, Cristiano Ronaldo, Shaq, on-and-on-and-on; these guys/teams have always won at their sports and attracted hate as well. Having great character and being a great athlete who is able to win at their sport doesn’t always coincide.

  4. Gissou - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:34 AM

    you might be making a good point but I think you are completely wrong about the comments you made if you really understand yourself. if he was so good to win back to back MVP, 7 all star, or understood that MJ wont his first ring when he was 31, he should have stayed in Cleveland and prove it. MJ did not have to team with other to start winning; He knew he was good and kept doing his thing until he started his back to back rings, final or season MVP and all the good things that came with them. Please just an advise, it is not nice to even think about MJ the winner when talking about lebron the loser

  5. Lebron - loser - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:51 AM

    Once a kingdom is destroyed, even if rebuild, it will never be the same – he don’t have a kingdom anymore and never going to lead Miami (Dwayne kingdom), but Dwayne for the next 7 years of their contract unless he continue to cry and asked to for a trade – even if he was to be traded, he won’t be his kingdom but someone else

  6. CF98 - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:16 AM

    Yep winning changes everything. I mean before Kobe couldn’t win without Shaq now he’s won two without him and now dumbasses have finally recognized he’s an elite player to actually admit it publically.
    I don’t hate LeBron for leaving he was a FA I do hate the tacky way he did it with that special.
    That being said Cleveland needs to stop looking so EMO over it if he’s soo horrible why did you even want him back to begin with?

  7. Jake - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:50 AM

    Mike
    Why is LeBron James a bad person? All he did was choose another team over the Cavs! Lots of players do that what is the problem

  8. Jake - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    Buckeye Pat
    Not everyone in the state of Ohio hates LeBron, that is what the press and crazies of Cleveland want you to believe. Their are still lots of fans like me who still like LeBron.
    The crazies of Cleveland need to get a life, they are not true fans anyway just fair weather fans.

  9. Jake - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Renee
    Who really cares if you won’t respect LeBron again! Get a

  10. Jake - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    Renee
    Who really cares if you won’t respect LeBron again! Get a life!!

  11. Galen - Aug 3, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Ah yes, winning will help. As we saw how well that worked for the Patriots and George Steinbrenner. And the Lakers over the last two years. It’ll work BECAUSE everyone likes watch people they hate win over and over and over again. It’s a web of logic you cannot escape.

  12. Omnius - Aug 3, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Ofcourse LeBoring James’s popularity will rise again because the braindead media pundits who proclaimed him King before he ever made an NBA basket will try to polish his tarnished image in order to wipe all that egg off their collective faces. Sorry but the King of Choke is a bad joke, just ask the Cleveland fans who supported him so loyally and whom he ignored while apologizing to the Akron fans who weren’t quite as vocal in their condemnation of him moving on. James has no class and the Heatstroke will find out soon enough that he wimps out in the playoffs because he’s too lazy to play tough defense. Just watch as the little three squabble over who gets to touch the ball to shoot as all three are nothing but self serving ball hogs who want the limelight to themselves. King Kobe and the Lakers will crush the Heatstroke if they even make it to the NBA Fianls next year!

  13. Kyle B - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    1st off ur a fool. 2nd off Jordan wouldnt had 6 titles if it wasnt for Pippen. He didnt have them b4 Pippen was there and didnt win crap on the wizards. dont forget Pippen is one of the 50 greatest players to ever live according to the NBA. And the same with Kobe with the 1st 3 titles, he had Shaq who is also one othe 50 greatest players of all time. LBJ barely had a damn all star last yr in Mo Williams. dont make a fool out of yourself trying to insult me !!!

  14. kyle b - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    unless that is some akward type of sarcasm i agree with you. I dont care what LBJ or any of the pplayers do off court, i pay to see them play just like everyone else. I got season tix to the Lakers, and b4 i bought them i didnt ask how is Lamar Odom and the Kardashian broad doing!!! lol who cares.. Yall can say whatever u want about LBj or whoever else but the bottom line is youre gonna pay to see him play. AC Green was prob one of the most stand up guys in the NBA but that dont matter u pay to see a great game with great players!! you may not like LBj but everyone has to respect his game cus if yall dont then u shouldnt watch basketball at all..

  15. kyle b - Aug 3, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    MJ was back in the 80′s and the 90′s its different now. if he wouldve teamed up with Kobe then thats understandable arguement but he teamed up with a friend in Wade. MJ and Magic and Bird were rivals, LBJ and Dwade are friends so its not the same. Its like this Gissou, if Lebron didnt team up with bosh and Wade then some other super team would have formed with someone else thus making it harder for him or anyone else to win. The Celtics did it with the Big 3 and no one said anything. KG, Pierce and Ray Allen were tired of being on losing teams. so they teamed up. So its either step up or get stepped on and Lebron decided to step upp!!!

  16. jay - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    listen here, you don’t know what u are talking about..first of all
    he was a free agent, he has the right to leave, cleveland is not mad at that.it’s the the way he done it. some people like myself is
    defending cleveland, i get sick of people putting down my city, because of sports, ok we lost a few close calls. but we suit up and do it again. cleveland is a beautiful city with great folks and history,we have die hard fans, some of the best in the country.
    lebron try to make us look like a joke. the way he did his send off. personally the way he gave up in the boston series, i didn’t
    want him back. yes he gave up, no elbow and mama rumors. he pack it in, if u watch the game 4 5 6. you see this wasn’t lebron james.
    he stop listening to mike brown, he wasnt communicating with the players, we watched this kid for at least 12 years, he always had fire in his eyes, boston players want amit it. but they knew he quit. keep it real, if your team goes out and wins 55,66,61 wins in three straight years and u get 2 mvp’s. do u think wade,mike,barkley,magic,bird,drexler,malone,shaq.kobe leaves their team. he is spoiled, thanks espn. arrangant youngster, who his advisors are 2 to 3 years older than he is. he and his crew ran a circus at the Q. u people really don’t know this guy..but you will.

  17. Cavs Fan - Aug 3, 2010 at 8:20 PM

    I believe he is a Cavs fan not a Lebron James fan. Lebron James left for another team. Since this guy is still a Cavs fan that would mean he is not a fair weather fan but actually a true fan, especially if it lost its best player. Most of Ohio does actually hate Lebron buy recent polls that have shown an overwhelming dislike for him. This is not for him actually leaving. This is for the whole “The Decision” thing that is not only unethical for ESPN to do as journalists but also idiotic for James to do. Even ESPN commentators think that the thing was stupid.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Wizards playing spoiler in East
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. A. Jefferson (3440)
  2. K. Durant (2916)
  3. L. James (2852)
  4. D. Wade (2787)
  5. D. Rose (2702)
  1. J. Noah (2590)
  2. K. Bryant (2444)
  3. D. Howard (2441)
  4. A. Bogut (2285)
  5. P. George (2191)