Of course, the <sarcasm> Supreme King Master of the Basketball Universe, His Royal Heiness LeBron James is expected to win it all and take his team to the “Promised Land” and we will all fawn all over his super-human ability and charisma <end sarcasm>. That is until he reminds us that it is all about the money in the off-season, because LeBron is a free agent this summer.
I have had my criticisms of LeBron in the past. In Athletes as Role Models? I reminded everyone that athletes are just athletes. They are not people worth looking up to. And in Teamwork: Important in Sports, More Important in Life I pointed out that for an athlete who is supposed to be such a team player, the video of LeBron with his teammates disappearing is a conflicting (and wrong) message.
The latest gripe I have with LeBron is even more serious. LeBron owns a marketing company call LRMR. In the NBA a marketing company is a conglomorate that tries to woo potential clients from the college ranks to sign with them to represent the athlete’s interest. The agency will market the player as a commodity to teams to negotiate salary as well to corporations to contract endorsement deals.
The business is shady enough as it is. College athletes are not allowed to accept payment or gifts. Marketing agencies will use 3rd parties to win over athletes in the hope that the 3rd party will control which agency the athlete chooses. Is it legal? probably. Nevertheless, it is definitiely shady. But when an athlete, especially an athlete with the influence of LeBron enters the fray, what was shady is now borderline unethical. If an athlete controls other athlete’s decisions by controlling their contract negotionations and endorsement deals, that is a level of control that is, in my view, wrong.
But maybe LeBron is such a sterling character that he would never dream of using his influence to contol athletes?
Sorry, but according to this Yahoo News item, LeBron is already working his magic on the most highyl touted NBA prospect since LeBron, John Wall.
Just another reason I don’t like LeBron…